Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'chamber'.
Found 2 results
Montreal's new music defies category January 22, 2008 By Jim Lowe Times Argus Staff Blair Thomson, second from right, applauds members of the Musica Camerata Montréal as they applaud him after the premiere of his “Don’t be afraid of …” on Saturday at McGill University. Left to right are violinist Luis Grinhauz, pianist Berta Rosenohl, flutist Marie-Andrée Benny, cellist Mariève Bock, Thomson and violist Lambert Chen. Photo: Jim Lowe/Times Argus Musica Camerata MontréalFor its next concert, Musica Camerata Montréal will present "Music of Central Europe," Saturday, March 15, at McGill University's Redpath Hall, 3461 McTavish (at Sherbrooke) in Montreal: Smetana's Piano Trio, Opus 15; Kodaly's Sérénade, Opus 12; and Julius Zarebski's Piano Quintet, Opus 34. Tickets are $30 Canadian, $20 for students; call (514) 489-8713, or go online to www.camerata.ca. MONTREAL – If there is any "Montreal style" of composition, it couldn't be discerned at Saturday's concert by the Musica Camerata Montréal at McGill University's Redpath Hall. The veteran chamber ensemble presented compositions by five contemporary Montreal composers – Serge Arcuri, Jacques Hétu, Robert Rival, Blair Thomson and Claude Vivier – but the works were so diverse in style that there seemed nothing in common save for the traditional instrumentation. The concert honored the Canadian Music Center, celebrating its 35th anniversary, which makes some 15,000 Canadian scores available free to performers. All composers but Vivier, who died in 1983, were in attendance. Most fascinating was the work commissioned by Musica Camerata, "Don't be afraid of …" by Thomson (b. 1963), heard in its premier performance. Full of color, mostly subtle pastels, the one-movement piece for flute, clarinet, piano and string quartet opened with ethereal sounds, edged along by quietly sliding pitches. It was atmospheric, but ever-changing in tonality – and atonality – but then things picked up, with a virtuoso violin solo contrasted by pizzicato among the other strings. It became driving with just a bit more stridence, increasing in velocity – coming to a sudden stop. The up-and-coming Thomson was born and trained in Toronto, but now makes his home in Montreal. A protégé of the late Canadian composer James Tenney (this work is in his memory), Thomson used 21st century rhythmic and harmonic language – with soft edges – and a lot of imagination. Now in its 38th year, the Musica Camerata Montréal, one of the city's most respected chamber ensembles, uses the mix-and-match style of New York's Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in its varying instrumentation. Led by violinist Luis Grinhauz, longtime assistant concertmaster of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the ensemble has made a name for itself performing unusual chamber works of the 19th and 20th century. The ensemble's high level of playing was quite evident as it moved into the 21st century. "Les furieuses enluminures" by the Montreal born-and-bred Arcuri (b. 1954) was episodic in nature and often quite exciting. The respected Quebec composer said he was inspired by Medieval illuminations on a church ceiling in Florence. Written for flute (and piccolo), clarinet, piano and string quartet, it opened with striking clashes of chords, followed by the piano supporting a haunting melody played by the others. It was a constant struggle between tonal and atonal, as he wove a colorful tapestry of solos and various groupings, building in excitement – finally fading out with barely audible flute notes. "Pièce pour violon et clarinette" by Vivier (1948-1938), one of Montreal's most respected composers, was hardly new to the Musica Camerata. The two who played it – Grinhauz and Michael Dumouchel, the OSM's second clarinet – recorded the musical "storytelling" work. At times in parallel, other times in tandem, the two engage in pithy and spicy conversation throughout this little work. It was a delight. The three-movement Serenade, Opus 45, for flute and string quartet, by Hétu (b. 1938), one of Montreal's best-known composers, didn't challenge the audience much, but it gave pleasure. The opening Prélude was light, lyrical, tonal. The larger-scale Nocturne, opening with a viola lament, mixed the conversational and lyrical and indulged in the passionate, finally proving haunting. The scherzo-like Dance was light with a touch of stridence – but not enough to bite. Most traditional was the 2005 Piano Trio by Rival (b. 1975), who is not a resident of Montreal but wrote the work while living in the city. The opening Allegro resoluto was substantial and powerful in a Brahms-like way, its drive interspersed by moments of lyricism. The slow movement, Elegy: Largo, was very moving, with lyrical strings, intense piano, then joining in an almost romantic style. The final Dance: Andante, despite a mundane theme, was full of dance rhythms, spiced by unexpected moments such as an atonal piano contrasting the tonal strings, and nice lyrical interlude. Throughout, the writing was largely tonal but with interesting rhythmic juxtapositions. The Rival benefited from the sensitive and sure-fingered piano of Berta Rosenohl. Marie-Andrée Benny, principal flutist of the Metropolitan Orchestra, Montreal's second, was sensual as well as dexterous in Hétu's Serenade. Violinists Grinhauz and Van Armenian, violist Lambert Chin and cellist Mariève Bock were the able string section. Certainly there were a few intonation and ensemble slips, but this was an able, substantial and convincing performance of some rewarding music. http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080122/FEATURES14/801220317/1011/FEATURES02