We would be right in asking, “Why concertos?” Isn’t that the bourgeois genre par excellence? One that, for all intents and purposes, allowed the composer to be eclipsed by the performer (hence spawning a preference for packaging over the actual package.)

Was this reversal of values not the root of lifeless, learned musical displays and empty technical acrobatics for the sole purpose of pleasing the crowd? For (as in Olympic competitions), faster, louder, and higher (or lower as the case may be…) is always better, especially when accompanied by a few well placed physical contortions and facial expressions sagely betraying some painful melancholy.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! This instrument rules and you must pay it homage and bow to its law.

Hmm…yes and no.

You see, composers have a love-hate relationship with the instrument: it’s (Freudian?) as ambiguous as anything. Because no instrument means no music, except perhaps in the imagination and then… Pleasure derives mostly from the senses and composers know this.

They also know that the instrument has the power to bring together, to concentrate and increase energy. And so it falls to the composer to make the instrument “speak” with sensitivity, intelligence, and passion. Now if I understand myself correctly, it’s a case of “de la musique avant toute chose” (music before everything else). The upshot:

Panneton: A hard-edged lyricism struggling against a current of violinistic elasticity (Julie-Anne Derome).

Collard: The transcendent America of our assumed urban “cowboyishness” (Alain Trudel).

Ferguson: The psychedelic qualities of the fractal geometry of kaleidoscopic textures (Marc Couroux).

What a programme! Listen and get in the groove: this is passionate music if you let it take you away.

  • Format: CD
  • Label: Atma
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Catalogue No: ACD 22282

Composing in the Present!

The SMCQ has been moving in step with the lively rhythms of new music for almost fifty years. With its regular concert season, its Série hommage (Homage Series), an international festival, and a young listener’s programme, the society has served both as a platform for today’s composers and as a window on creative works for everyone.

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