The disc, produced under the aegis of the Canadian Music Centre, features a photo of the crest of the new building in the Quartier des Spectacles where the National Film Board now sits, which has also invited eight directors to each create a short film on one of the tracks on the disc (free at montrealmusica.com/album-videos/).
What does a piano record about Montreal sound like? Chamber musician and accompanist Marc Bourdeau says he has selected a series of “contrasting pieces by a female composer and eight composers with a connection to Montreal and who have, each in their own way, marked the musical landscape of Quebec, and even Canada”.
We are therefore entitled to seven pieces composed before the Quiet Revolution (Claude Champagne, André Mathieu and François Morel), to twelve pieces dating from the 1990s to today (Jacques Hétu, John Rea, Denis Gougeon, Marc-André-Hamelin and Rachel Laurin), and three pieces composed at different times in the life of jazzman Oscar Peterson.
If some pieces, such as Piano-Soleil by Gougeon, the Romantic Prelude by André Mathieu and the Two Studies of Sonority by Morel, have relatively entered the repertoire of our pianists, in particular thanks to the requirements of certain competitions and examinations, the other pieces remain relatively little known.
In addition to these Quebec classics, we will taste, among others, the delicate and nostalgic Prelude “to my daughters”, composed during the Second World War by Champagne, the colorful Music Box by Hamelin, the touching Love Ballade by Peterson and the six excerpts from the interesting Las Meninas de Rea cycle, which the former McGill professor dedicated to more or less well-known composers, including the Canadian Alexina Louie.
Marc Bourdeau delivers a meticulous interpretation, but which could have gone further in the flexibility of the phrasing and the search for climates. Very beautiful piano captured in the enveloping atmosphere of the Montreal Conservatory of Music by Anne-Marie Sylvestre.