Browsing: Contemporary

Tim Brady is very single-minded. For six years, he has nurtured his opera about the history of the electric guitar, as personified by its pioneer, Charlie Christian (1916-1942). As a guitarist and ­composer himself, Brady knew quite well that this story would open the door to those who transcend individuals and borders. The life of Charlie Christian effectively aligns not only with the history of the ­electric guitar, but with that of jazz, Black musicians, and the Black community as a whole in its struggles against segregation and racism. Instead of limiting himself to one time period or place, Brady…

Share:

Le Vivier Groupe Le Vivier will kick-start its new season on Sept. 23 and 24 with Tim Brady’s new chamber opera (with booklet by Audrey Dwyer). Set in 1930s New York, Backstage at Carnegie Hall will see tenor Ruben Brutus in the role of legendary jazz guitarist Charlie Christian, who finds himself pushed into an adventure spanning the United States in the slaveholding era to Little Burgundy. The electric guitar quartet Instruments of Happiness will provide musical accompaniment. On Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, the Orchestre de l’Agora and conductor Nicolas Ellis will interpret works from four standout Québécois artists:…

Share:

The story of Bas-Sheve—the first Yiddish opera ever composed—extends far beyond what’s in the score. The work was first written by Henekh Kon and performed with piano accompaniment in 1924 Warsaw, only to be lost in the annals of history for nearly a century, never interpreted as Kon imagined. Dr. Diana Matut rediscovered the manuscript in 2017, though it was 16 pages shy of its original 95-page length, leading her to commission Joshua Horowitz and Michael Wex to complete the score and libretto, respectively. Its restoration, performed in Germany at the Yiddish Summer Weimar Festival in 2019, caught the attention…

Share:

Tim Brady loves a good challenge. His latest: setting poems in an Indigenous language to music. To do this, the composer-guitarist chose a poem collection entitled Uiesh (“Somewhere”) written by famous Innu poet Joséphine Bacon. “I really loved Joséphine Bacon’s work,” he said. “I thought it would be quite a challenge to compose music a singer would perform in an Indigenous language. The linguistic, grammatical, and syllable structures are very different from European languages. Joséphine helped me a lot, and I concluded that my music needed to use a simpler rhythmic language, more clear-cut to help each syllable stand out.…

Share:

In this Tête à tête segment, Don Adriano interviews Michael Spyres for La Scena Musicale during his passage through Montreal to sing at the Lanaudière festival in July 2022! On Youtube: Interview with Michael Spyres: During the interview, Adriano and Spyres discuss Rossini, operatic traditions, voice technique, the Baritenor voice and much more. The following is a sample of their discussion. How to sing like an opera performer As an internationally renowned baritenor opera singer, Michael Spyres has a lot to say on the topic of operatic singing. According to him, the body is not comfortable with operatic singing until…

Share:

À ses derniers pas, entrant dans la boue Aleks Schürmer, piano; Grégoire Blanc, theremin Centrediscs, 2022 There’s something to the theremin, a no-contact electromagnetic instrument invented in the early 20th century, that makes it impossible not to smile upon hearing one, and composer Aleks Schürmer is acutely aware of this in his album À ses derniers pas, entrant dans la boue. By contrasting the goofiness of the theremin against a grim piano performance, Schürmer squares 20th-century peoples’ visions of a utopic technological future against our dystopic 21st-century reality. In Ils se sont trouvés sur Tinder, Blanc reaches into the depths…

Share:

Journey Through Night: Canadian Music for String Quartet Alex Toskov, Laurence Schaufele and Tanya Charles Iveniuk, violin; Samuel Bisson, cello Akashic Entertainment Recordings, 2021 The Odin Quartet’s conductor and cellist, Samuel Bisson, has an affinity for atmospheric chamber music: his work as a film-score composer has brought him onboard such projects as Yan Ma’s Up We Soar (2020) and Kacey Kox’s Finding Manny (2020). But Journey Through Night poses a different challenge for him—with no visuals to complement, Bisson must generate ambience through music alone, while also showcasing contemporary Canadian composers in an accessible way. Though this is only the…

Share:

Music of the City and the Stars Andrew Paul MacDonald, electric guitar; Quatuor Saguenay Centrediscs, 2022 Canadian composer Andrew Paul MacDonald has attempted something unprecedented in the two original compositions featured on the album Music of the City and the Stars: a fusion of electric guitar and a string ensemble. There is a noticeable difference between the two instruments, but this is exactly why the album’s overarching theme works so well. The first concerto is Lyra, a seven-movement work that recounts the history of the lyre in Greek mythology. The work begins with Apollo’s conception of the instrument, follows Orpheus…

Share:

Found Frozen: Songs by Jeffrey Ryan Danika Lorèn, soprano; Krisztina Szabó, mezzo-soprano; Dion Mazerolle, baritone; Steven Philcox, piano Centrediscs, 2022 The Canadian label Centrediscs specializes in contemporary music and has accustomed listeners to performances for all kinds of ensembles and instruments. Found Frozen, however, is a return to a more classical form—that of piano and voice. This collection features new songs by Canadian composer Jeffrey Ryan, gathered into cycles (except for one song), and performed by three different singers and a pianist, Steven Philcox. Like so many others, this project comes to fruition after long, pandemic-related delays. The album opens…

Share:

6 Changes Architek Percussion, composition and interpretation Self-produced, 2022 After releasing four recordings with various record labels, including Centrediscs, Architek Percussion is back in force with its very first album as a self-producer. The percussion ensemble, composed of Noam Bierstone, Ben Duinker, Ben Reimer and Alessandro Valiante, presents 6 Changes, which is both the title of the album and of the work which logically includes six movements, for a duration of nearly 33 minutes. In When Will I Realize?, the listener is immediately struck by the full and enveloping resonances of the vibraphones. Listening on stereo speaker or headphones allows…

Share:
1 2 3 39