For its 5th SMCQ Homage Series, dedicated in turn to Claude Vivier, Gilles Tremblay, Ana Sokolović and Denis Gougeon, choosing John Rea was an “inescapable” natural, given the impressive stature and totally remarkable works of this composer-teacher.
Fascinated by the visual paradoxes of draftsman, illustrator, muralist and tapestry designer Maurits Cornelis Escher and Hungarian graphic artist Victor Vasarely—among others—John Rea transposed certain pictorial aspects into several of his works, bound to the projection in a sound “geometry,” without totally neglecting a different yet fundamental approach of “expressive” nature—associated with the development of narrative wefts, where a text, an argument or a suggestive title directs the audience’s attention to a layout of “extramusical” images.
These two seemingly incompatible poles, the musical, abstract, mathematical, objective structural geometry, versus the subjective expression of feelings, emotions and/or other complex “moods,” impossible to quantify, are constantly present in the entirety of his works and ultimately constitute its engine, its “raison d’être.”
The dynamics of these round trips between paradoxical elements (the heart versus reason) are directly at the centre of the concerns or (shall we say) obsessions of the composer, in his search for a balance absolved between the shape and contents, contributing widely to the unique profile of his music, where originality and expressive power— contained—are at all times tangible!
John Rea’s esthetic approach accurately represents a “contemporary” reincarnation of the dream of the Renaissance, in the sense that contrary to the so-called formal perfection of Classicism (to the detriment of individual expression) and the excesses of unbridled Romanticism where the “I” is omnipresent, his music constantly attempts to reconcile these two tendencies and in doing so attains a balance which is reminiscent—in its own way—of that which is found in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Therefore, it is with great anticipation and excitement that the SMCQ—along with its numerous partners and collaborators—propose a singular “Odyssey” for Homage Series 2015-2016—through John Rea’s unique and captivating imagination! We look forward to seeing you at these events!
— Walter Boudreau, Aïda Aoun, Artistic Director & General Director