On March 27, I started an enormous personal composition project. I'd even go as far to say that it might be my most important artistic accomplishment to date – conceived in my basement, during 5 weeks of confusion, fear, anger, frustration and sadness. But those are not the feelings that wanted to come out. To the contrary. What I composed is full of light, the appreciation for Mother Earth and for all the women in my life. (more on that subject later...)
Hardly two weeks into the pandemic, amongst the reactions of shock around the world, I decided to write a musical work, in fact, 12 works, organized into a song cycle for soprano and piano. I already knew for home I would write it - my friend and colleague, the soprano Catherine Elvira Chartier. And I knew that my friend and colleague, Carmen Picard, would play the piano part. Many of you have heard "Bulles" in early April, a song on a poem written by Catherine Elvira Chartier's daughter. So, in collaboration avec Catherine Elvira and in response to her request to write a suite of songs on texts by women poets, "Bulles" became "SOUVENIRS D'UN PAYSAGE" a cycle of 12 songs for soprano and piano on poems written by seven poetesses.
The musical settings of the 12 poems are what you might call transcribed improvisations. These poems, from the pens of women poets, express the fragility and the wonders of the world’s natural beauty. A feminine perspective that makes one think that the world would be a better place if it were cared for by women.
Earlier this summer, Catherine Elvira and Carmen were able to present the cycle in front of a small group of friends and colleagues as part odf a conference that I gave on the subject Université de Sherbrooke where I teach. And we just finished a week-end of recording at the music department of Université de Sherbrooke where Catherine Elvira recorded the version of the cycle that I arranged for virtual orchestra. My student and colleague, Christophe Pilon, succeeded in giving life to my orchestrations with and excellent sound bank and his great musical sensitivity.
Next week, Catherine Elvira and Carmen will record the original version for voice and piano.