La Scena Musicale

Friday, 7 August 2015

La prochaine grande mélodie - La mélodie préférée de Claude Gingras

Notre sondage "La prochaine grande mélodie" se poursuit. Un critique de musique pour La Presse, Claude Gingras nous partage son choix ci-dessous. Votez au!

Claude Gingras, La Presse

English translation follows.

Pour moi, une mélodie, c'est d'abord ce quelque chose d'indéfinissable qui vous trotte dans la tête dans les moments les plus inattendus. À cet égard, le premier sujet qui me vient à l'esprit est « Après un rêve » de Fauré, et ce pour au moins deux bonnes raisons. En même temps que s'installe la mélodie en valeurs longues, j'entends le texte de Romain Bussine, contemporain de Fauré et lui-même chanteur, et j'entends le violoncelle, cet instrument hautement lyrique qui a inspiré la célèbre transcription que l'on sait.

Dans un sommeil que charmait ton image
Je rêvais le bonheur, ardent mirage, 
Tes yeux étaient plus doux, ta voix pure et sonore, 
Tu rayonnais comme un ciel éclairé par l'aurore; 

Tu m'appelais et je quittais la terre 
Pour m'enfuir avec toi vers la lumière, 
Les cieux pour nous entr'ouvraient leurs nues, 
Splendeurs inconnues, lueurs divines entrevues, 

Hélas! Hélas! triste réveil des songes 
Je t'appelle, ô nuit, rends moi tes mensonges, 
Reviens, reviens radieuse, 
Reviens ô nuit mystérieuse!

La fameuse Sérénade, ou « Ständchen », de Schubert.

3. None but the Lonely Heart/Ah ! qui brûla d'amour – Tchaïkovsky

Cette mélodie de Tchaïkovsky qu'on appelle « None but the Lonely Heart » en anglais et « Ah ! qui brûla d'amour » en français.

English translation:

For me, an Art song is that undefinable thing that gets that stuck in your head at the most unexpected moment. In this respect, the first one that comes to mind is Fauré’s “Après un rêve”, for at least two good reasons. As the long notes of the melody unfold, I hear the poem of Romain Bussine, contemporary of Fauré and a singer himself. I also hear the cello, the highly lyrical instrument that inspired this famous transcription.

My second choice: the famous Serenade, or "Ständchen" by Schubert.

My third: this melody by Tchaikovsky called "None bu the Lonely Heat" in English and "Ah ! qui brûla d'amour" in French.

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Monday, 3 August 2015

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Revels at Bard on the Beach

Matt Hanson

Gerrard Gordon, conductor

Mozart isn’t exactly casino music. In 1788, it was. “So you can see how far we’ve come,” said Vancouver Symphony Orchestra conductor Gordon Gerrard, reminding a full house audience of how, at times, historical progress is truly linear.  

In an evening dedicated to Mozart, that unfathomable prodigy of Western music, the splendorous airs of Vanier Park ascended sky high under a soft dusk light. Solar crepuscules trickled into the outdoor theatre. The evening was set with a lofty ambiance under the illumined jade hue of the North Shore Mountain horizon. 

The calm flow of False Creek sped off in the visible expanse behind the tuxedoed performers, a respectable collection of brass, woodwinds, strings and a percussionist. The Impresario: Overture led people into the entrancing harmonies of a sound that has captivated the minds of the world for over two hundred years. 

The bygone classical era is nostalgic for the modern ear of the 21st century. Listening to Mozart, the public, whether consciously or not, is still swept away by a music that seems to speak, and not only briefly, or in monologue. The music of Mozart is conversational, an aural discourse of diverse musical traditions performed and heard. His music speaks as in multiple languages, various regional manners, styles and accents. Some statements are profound, others light, though, reflective of the human mind--all are complex and move through a development of pure emotional ideas. Every note speaks from the heart and dances in a dynamic call-and-response between many performers simultaneously. 

Jeanette Jonquil, clarinet

Clarinet soloist Jeanette Jonquil then stepped onstage, adorned in a sparkling indigo dress. Her performance poured original strength, and heartfelt soul into one of the most admired pieces of music ever written. Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major opens with a melancholic depth, though one not lost to the persevering optimism of the artist at work. As the movements changed hands, Jonquil performed the clarinet through its barrelling range with a solemn beauty. Her breath fed into the spiralling scales, as she edged into each tone, descending and ascending, and back, as spontaneous as gravity, and yet with a mindful strength. She intoned all of the classic verve of the clarinettist who achieves a spirited complexion of harmonic rhythms that move and speak with the rushing grace of natural grandeur. Her performance transcended acute technicality, and as a great performer at the height of her prime, she so elegantly hit that nerve, alleviating the need for lasting art that so stirs masses with the pure passionate intensity for life.

Jonquil’s clarinet gave life to what once edge music, contemporary, and on the fringes of society, where it could best earn a dying, original artist his dues. Now clearly music of the establishment, the question one must ask in every new context of long-standing compositional music, especially as a lover of classical music, is: How does this music speak to people now?  

Does Mozart still speak to the public? Or, is Mozart simply an icon for the public to set among the pantheon of Western culture in order to justify historical progress in the wake of the Industrial Age with quaint memories of a more pastoral Europe? If the unwavering exuberance of Jonquil’s virtuosity is any indication, Mozart still stands on firm ground in the heart of ensuing generations, as she performed the entire concerto from memory. 

The penultimate symphony of Mozart, Symphony No. 40 in G minor, concluded the evening. The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra showed vigorous pride for the people and lands that have cultivated their popularity in British Columbia. Throughout, conductor Gordon Gerrard appeared a step ahead of the beat, swaying and dancing to the embedded rhythms like a silent prophet, omniscient amid the genius soundscapes.

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This Week in Montreal: August 3 to 9

Marianne Fiset (Photo: Maxime Tremblay)

This Week in Montreal: August 3 to 9

Carmen at OSM’s Classical Spree
A must-see event at the end of the summer, the 4th Classical Spree will begin on August 5 with a free outdoors concert conducted by Kent Nagano. This year, a shortened version of Bizet’s Carmen will be presented at the Olympic Park, featuring Michèle Losier, Joseph Kaiser and Marianne Fiset. As in previous years, 30 low-price 45-minute concerts and a variety of free activities will take place on August 7 and 8, to present the beauties of classical music to the public. In a highly-anticipated concert, Canadian violinist James Ehnes will perform Frank Zappa’s Envelopes. Kent Nagano will conduct Beethoven’s famous 5th Symphony, and organist Jean-Willy Kunz, in the company of animator Patrice Bélanger, will present Le Carnaval des animaux to children, using multimedia projections as well as the various sonorities of the Pierre-Béique organ. Jazz pianist Oliver Jones will be present, along with other celebrities of the classical music scene. August 5 to 8.

L’Orchestre Symphonique de Laval
The city of Laval turns 50 this year. In celebration, the Orchestre symphonique de Laval, under Alain Trudel’s baton, is giving free concerts in parks and public spaces throughout the city. On August 6, the concert in honour of Laval’s birthday will take place at the Centropolis and feature soprano Marie-Josée Lord. Two additional concerts will be held: August 13 at the Berge aux Quatre-Vents at 7:30 pm and August 16, 2 pm, on the grounds of the Hôpital de la Cité de la Santé.

McGill International String Quartet Academy (MISQA)
MISQA was established in 2010. The Academy invites emeritus professors annually who share their experience with four exceptional quartets and four emerging ones. The opening concert on August 9 will be with the Miró Quartet, and the Parker Quartet will perform at the closing concert on August 22. The Grands Concerts are at Pollack Hall on August 13,14, 20 and 21 at 7 pm and at Tanna Schulich Hall on August 15 and 22, 2 pm August 9 – 22.

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Cette semaine à Montréal: du 3 au 9 août

Le violoniste James Ehnes

Cette semaine à Montréal: du 3 au 9 août

Carmen à la Virée classique
Rendez-vous incontournable de la fin de l’été, la 4e Virée classique prendra son envol le 5 août avec un grand concert extérieur gratuit dirigé par Kent Nagano. Cette année, c’est une version courte de Carmen, de Bizet, avec Michèle Losier, Joseph Kaiser et Marianne Fiset comme têtes d’affiche, qui sera présentée au Parc olympique. Comme par les années antérieures, 30 concerts de 45 minutes à petits prix et une foule d’activités gratuites présentées les 7 et 8 août feront découvrir au public la beauté de la musique classique. Dans un concert très attendu, le violoniste canadien James Ehnes présentera la pièce Enveloppes de Frank Zappa. Kent Nagano offrira la célébrissime 5e Symphonie de Beethoven et l’organiste Jean-Willy Kunz, en compagnie de l’animateur Patrice Bélanger, présentera aux enfants Le Carnaval des animaux, alliant projections multimédias et sonorités du Grand Orgue Pierre-Béique. Le pianiste de jazz Oliver Jones participera à la fête, en plus de grands noms de la scène musicale classique. Du 5 au 8 août.

L’Orchestre symphonique de Laval
La ville de Laval fête ses 50 ans cette année. Pour souligner cet anniversaire, l’Orchestre symphonique de Laval donnera des concerts gratuits dans les parcs et lieux publics de la ville sous la direction d’Alain Trudel. Ils seront au Centre de la nature le 4 juin, à la Berge Saint-Maxime le 11 juin et au parc des Prairies le 18 juin, toujours à 19 h 30. Le 6 août, le concert marquant la naissance de Laval aura lieu au Centropolis avec la soprano Marie-Josée Lord. Deux autres concerts auront lieu, soit le 13 août à la Berge aux Quatre-Vents à 19 h 30 et le 16 août à 14 h sur les terrains de l’Hôpital de la Cité de la santé.

Académie internationale de quatuor à cordes de McGill (MISQA)
MISQA a été fondée en 2010. L’Académie invite chaque année des professeurs émérites, qui partagent leur expérience avec quatre quatuors exceptionnels et quatre quatuors de la relève. Le Quatuor à cordes Miró est l’invité du concert d’ouverture le 9 août. Le concert de clôture présentera le 22 août le Quatuor à cordes Parker. Les grands concerts ont lieu à la salle Pollack les 13, 14, 20 et 21 à 19 h et les quatuors de la relève à la salle Tanna Schulich les 15 et 22 à 14 h. Du 9 au 22 août.

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Next Great Art Song - Mia Bach's Favourite Art Song

The next submission to the "Next Great Art Song" survey is by Mia Bach. Share your choices at!

As a vocal coach and instructor at the University of Toronto for the past few decades, I have been fortunate to be able to spend my days exploring art songs of hundreds of composers. Initially I thought it was impossible to pick just three, but I realized there are certain songs that I have performed/coached countless times, yet each time feels like a fresh discovery.  As the collaborative pianist for the French Mélodie classes at the University, I couldn’t help but include two French composers. If the definition of great art song is the inseparable fusion of poetry and music, then Debussy’s cycle Trois Chanson de Bilitis is a perfect specimen. Within the first interval of the first song “La Flûte de Pan” one is immediately transported into the realm of the poem; the introductory two bars establish not only mood, but a sense of time and place. The imagery, the characters, their surroundings in the poem are miraculously captured with masterful vividness in the musical language by Debussy, and one cannot imagine the words being melodically  “spoken” in any other way.
Thank you for the opportunity to explore this question – it may be that on another day, I may have other choices (other Debussy, Faure, Poulenc, Schubert, Wolf, Britten, Barber….!), but it would be hard to get past Debussy’s incomparable ability to fuse text and music – the definition of art song.

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