Browsing: Classical Music

After almost four years, a major project has come to fruition with the release of Chopin’s two Piano Concertos as played by Charles Richard-Hamelin and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal under Kent Nagano. “It’s one of the five best recordings that Analekta has ever produced,” exclaims the label’s president, François-Mario Labbé. Almost 32 years after the record company’s establishment, this landmark recording reminds the wide world of the excellence of musicians from Quebec. “After Charles Richard-Hamelin’s win at the 2015 Chopin Competition, I thought of recording those concertos and brought it up with Kent Nagano, who was immediately interested,” Labbé…

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From Berlioz to the Bee Gees: This is the guiding theme of the 2019 edition of Festival Classica. Set in Montérégie, specifically Saint-Lambert, it welcomed 65,000 festival-goers last year and hopes to reach similar heights with its ninth edition. “The idea to put together a festival came to me in 2008, while I was an invited soloist for the 25th anniversary of Versailles’s Centre de musique baroque,” recounts general and artistic director Marc Boucher. “In Versailles, there are several concert halls: the Trianon, the Opéra, the Queen’s Theatre, the Royal Chapel, etc. I saw people walk out of one concert,…

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The Festival of Slavic Music and Culture, under the artistic direction of Irina Krasnyanskaya, is returning for its seventh edition. Born of Krasnyanskaya and her partners’ desire to popularize and share Russian and Slavic culture with Montrealers, the festival puts forward a varied and multidisciplinary program. “Each year, we try to present lesser-known works of this magnificent culture, which remains unfamiliar in the Western world and is often limited to a few names,” explains Krasnyanskaya. Promoting this culture involves not only classical music, but also exhibitions, poetry readings and film screenings. The pillar of the festival this year is the…

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Last February, the Opus Tribute Award from the Conseil québécois de la musique (CQM) went to Gilbert Patenaude in recognition of a long career. He is known for his commitment to choral singing, particularly as the director, for 38 years, of Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal. It is with dedication and rigour that he has taken on a demanding pedagogical and musical load that includes, in addition to teaching, more than 80 annual performances, religious services and other events. His achievements with young singers include no fewer than 23 international tours and a dozen recordings. He has trained more than…

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A CANADIAN FAURÉ TO NEW YORK  Conductor Lisette Canton Brings Choirs from Toronto, Ottawa, and St. John’s to Carnegie Hall NEW YORK, NY, April 3, 2019 – A northern light will shine through the performance of Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall on Saturday, May 25. Ontario-based conductor Lisette Canton will conduct the New England Symphonic Ensemble; vocal soloists Danielle Talamantes, soprano and Rob McGinness, baritone; and a choir, more than 165 voices strong, containing members of the following Canadian ensembles: Philharmonic Choir of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada (Stephen Candow, Director) York University Singers, Toronto, Ontario,…

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Funny thing about the double Grammy victory of the Aaron Jay Kernis Violin Concerto as recorded by James Ehnes. It was an accident. Or almost. “I had no confidence at all that we could get a recording out of it,” Ehnes said recently, referring to the three Seattle Symphony concerts led in March 2017 by Ludovic Morlot. Canada’s most decorated violinist was aware that the Seattle orchestra recorded its live performances, and rather well, for archival and broadcast purposes. And he did inquire as to whether a patch session would be possible if a recording — then entirely hypothetical —…

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From the outside, it looks like a perfectly ordinary Mile End apartment. No sign, not even a name, only the number 1134. No passerby would know that it harbours an age-old expertise, passionately cultivated by Isabelle Wilbaux for more than 20 years. In Search of the Perfect Balance “The essence of a violin maker’s work is to find lightness without losing strength,” Isabelle says. “You have to understand the wood you are shaping, to remove as much of it as possible so that it will vibrate, without removing too much, so that the instrument can last 300 years.” Born in…

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Olivier Brault is very much in demand internationally for his deft playing of, and expertise in, period instruments. His embrace of the Baroque era, with special emphasis on 18th-century French music, has given this violinist the credentials to stimulate interest in this repertoire through lectures to younger audiences and his work as a teacher at McGill University. His twin musical concerns now are the use of memory and its transmission, although his own journey was a winding one, beginning with a childhood visit to a great-uncle in Nova Scotia. A Love Affair with the French Trio Sonata “My mother was…

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By Wah Keung Chan and Alexandre Da Costa To help navigate the 2019 edition of the Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM), La Scena listened to 23 of the 24 participants to arrive at our prediction of the winners. French-Russian violinist Fedor Rudin withdrew after his appointment as concertmaster of the Vienna State Opera and Vienna Philharmonic and we were not informed of his replacement during the evaluation process. The 24 violinists include highly decorated winners of recent international competitions. In our listening of publicly available audio and video, many from previous competition performances, the technical prowess of all participants…

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From its beginnings in 2002, the Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM) has proven its mettle. With some daring and much intelligence, it has set itself apart from others in its field by projecting a more human image and extending its outreach in the community. Like all competitions, it adheres to its own set of rules, one of these being its alternating annual focus on piano, voice and violin. Yet it includes some non-competitive events in its program, for the sake of added colour. CMIM artistic and managing director Christiane LeBlanc is very much responsible for broadening the event’s scope.…

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