CD Review | iFugue: A World of Fugues (ODEG, 2022)

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iFugue: A World of Fugues
Ensemble Vivant
Opening Day Entertainment Group (ODEG), 2022

Do you know what fusion is? A mix of rock and jazz probably leaps to mind. But there is classical fusion, too. That is exactly what Ensemble Vivant deals with in this recording as it steps into the world of fugues with a selection of 15 pieces that come from both the baroque (Vivaldi, Bach) and more modern times (with the likes of Aldemaro Romero, Astor Piazzolla, Dimitri Shostakovich, Heitor Villa-Lobos and César Franck). Rounding out this 300-year sampling are three world premières by two Canadian composers: Fuga del Sur by John Burke as well as Fugue For Fireflies and Peregrine Riffs by Michael Coghlan.

The album opens with Canadian composer John Burke’s arrangement of the fugue in Vivaldi’s Sinfonia in E Minor, which offers a jazzy foretaste to the other goodies found in this album. Piazzolla’s Fugata, for one, is given a good workover and whisks us off to sunny Argentina with the most charming addition of a vibraphone. More good vibes are felt in Romero’s Fuga con Pajarillo, enhanced with the sound of maracas. This disc is not only a fine listen, but one to revisit again and again—if only to experience that sudden shift away from the baroque stylings in that last piece to the very Cartesian compositional approach including daringly dissonant sounds of contemporary music.

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About Author

Justin Bernard est détenteur d’un doctorat en musique de l’Université de Montréal. Ses recherches portent sur la médiation musicale, notamment par le biais des nouveaux outils numériques, ainsi que sur la relation entre opéra et cinéma. Membre de l’Observatoire interdisciplinaire de création et de recherche en musique (OICRM), il a réalisé une série de capsules vidéo éducatives pour l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Justin Bernard est également l’auteur de notes de programme pour le compte de la salle Bourgie du Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal et chargé de cours à l’Université de Sherbrooke. Par ailleurs, il anime une émission d’opéra et une chronique musicale à Radio VM (91,3 FM).

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