WALTER BOUDREAU (b.1947): Concerto de l’asile for Piano and Orchestra, MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937): Pavane pour une infante defunte, NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908): Sheherazade, Op. 35.

Catalogue Number: 11U065

Label: Analekta

Reference: AN2 8874-5

Format: CD

Price: $20.98

Description: "New music is fantastic. We’ve been plagued with an obsolete image from the 1950s of all these boring exercises that emptied the halls. It has nothing to do with the amazing array of different works in contemporary music. There’s something there for everybody. Enjoy new music!” It is good to read this passionate credo of the composer (or better yet, listen to his actual music, which absolutely fulfils these intentions) before reaching conclusions based on the biography of the student of Boulez, Kagel, Ligeti, Stockhausen, and Xenakis. Or, for that matter, the subject-matter of his massive, audacious, hugely original piano concerto; a tribute to Claude Gauvreau (1925–1971), a Montréal avant garde playwright and poet, a member of the radical Automatist movement (a kind of surrealism), who went insane, was hospitalized and treated with drugs and electroshock therapy, and who probably committed suicide. The first movement revels in a kind of schizophrenic grandiosity, a disconcertingly convincing world of towering edifices and breathtaking landscapes, meticulously detailed and utterly defiant of the laws of reality. Surprisingly tonal, romantic material, not unrelated to Rachmaninov, makes up a good deal of this impressive movement, but its appearances are jarringly disjointed, as though one's view of a magnificent cityscape suddenly folded in on itself, like a movie special effect. The slow movement depicts the surreal, zoned-out tranquility of the poet's sedated mind in the Saint-Jean-de-Dieu hospital. The huge, astonishing finale is titled after Gauvreau's play "The Charge of the Expormidable Moose" (the original is the equally nonsensical neologism "épormyable"), a tragicomic howl of torment and a savage, surreal indictment of the mental health treatment the playwright had received. Like the first movement, it is an epic, obsessive Romantic monument gone horrifyingly wrong, centered around an increasingly grandiose treatment of a trite, off-kilter little waltz that Boudreau originally wrote for a production of one of Gauvreau's plays. 2 CDs. Alain Lefèvre (piano), Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra; Alexander Shelley.


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