The NEM and Tim Brady: Silence Deployed on a Grand Scale

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This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

More than 100 musicians and singers will fill the Church of the Gesù on April 26 to perform the latest symphonic work of composer and guitarist Tim Brady. Soberly titled Silence, Symphony No. 10, this new opus adds to the imposing corpus of the Montreal composer whose career spans more than four decades.

Cultivating an obvious taste for large-scale music, Brady will on this occasion be accompanied by the musicians of the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and their leader Lorraine Vaillancourt, in addition to the members of his ensemble of electric guitars, Instruments of Happiness. To these musicians will also be added the choristers of Voces Boreales, the Chœur du Plateau, the Gaïa Ensemble and the Phoebus Ensemble. If such an armada of performers promises to confer an epic character on this evening, Brady sees it above all as a way to explore different timbres and sound textures.

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Asked about this, the composer attributed his interest in research into timbre and musical structures developed by the orchestral repertoire of the great composers of the 20th century, but also to the legendary concept albums of rock groups from the 1960s who rocked his childhood. These two musical traditions that seem so distinct nevertheless find their place in a surprisingly coherent way within the musical universe of Brady. Far from the musical clichés commonly associated with the electric guitar and popular repertoire, his writing adopts the heterogeneous structures specific to new music, while exploiting the vast – even infinite – possibilities of the timbre of the instrument. “With the effects available today, the guitar in itself becomes an orchestra,” says Brady. In its expert hands, the instrument is thus an authentic tool for electroacoustic creation.

If this musical syncretism seems perfectly natural to Brady, what about the public for whom the electric guitar is deeply rooted in the American musical heritage of rock and blues? The composer replies that “the main thing for me is not to be linked to a particular musical tradition” and that it is necessary to free oneself to achieve a certain artistic freedom. This eclecticism is also echoed in the evening’s program. The public will be able to hear, in addition to Brady’s latest opus, the Ricercare by J.S. Bach (an excerpt from The Musical Offering), The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives and Silent Things and Gestes Nus, a new work by Montreal composer David Cronkite based on a poem by Hélène Dorion. The public will thus be led to explore a concept that challenges many composers through history: silence. This represents for Brady a particularly fruitful theme, because although silence is part of everyone’s daily life, it remains nonetheless mysterious and elusive.

The Nouvel Ensemble Moderne performs Tim Brady’s Silence, Symphony No. 10. The Church of the Gesù, April 26, 3 p.m. ,

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


About Author

Arnaud G. Veydarier est actuellement étudiant en musicologie à l’Université de Montréal et nourrit un intérêt prononcé pour le jazz, la musique contemporaine et les liens entre musique et développement urbain. Il est pigiste pour La Scena Musicale depuis septembre 2017.

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