A chamber opera that tells the story of the life of the Canadian doctor and humanitarian Norman Bethune by interweaving extracts from Bethune's own letters with poetry of the 1930s.
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Label: Ambiances Magnetiques
Catalog ID: AM 139
Squidco Product Code: 5544
Packaging: Cardstock 3 page foldover
Recorded on January 24th-26th, 2005 and June 20th, 2005 at Studio 12, Radio-Canada in Montral, CA by Franois Goupil and Morris Apelbaum.
Michael Donovan-baritone vocals
Tim Brady-electric guitar
Pamela Reimer-piano, sabelle
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• Show Bio for Tim Brady
"Known for his radiant orchestrations, his dramatic structures and his innovative guitar work, Canadian Tim Brady is a composer and guitarist who has created music in a wide range of genres ranging from chamber and orchestral music to electroacoustic works, chamber opera, contemporary dance scores, jazz and free improvisation. He has been commissioned and performed by numerous ensembles and orchestras in North America and Europe including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, The South Bank Centre, New Music Concerts, INA-GRM (Radio-France), the English Guitar Quartet, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Esprit Orchestra (CBC), the Philadelphia-based Relâche ensemble, the Australian group Topology, and the New York groups Newspeak and the Trinity Wall Street Choir.
Since 1988 he has released 24 CDs as both a composer and a performer on Justin Time Records and Ambiances magétiques, and, more recently, on ATMA Classique, Centrediscs and Starkland labels. His most recent CDs are: Music for Large Ensemble - with Bradyworks (Autumn 2018 - Starkland Records), The How and the Why of Memory, with Symphony Nova Scotia (Centrediscs - 2015) Atacama: Symphonie #3 (ATMA Classique - Feb. 2013) - nominated for a JUNO Award in 2014, . His two most recent major orchestral works are The How and the Why of Memory: Symphony #4, commissioned by Symphony Nova Scotia, and The Absence of Shelling is Almost Like Music, for cello, video and orchestra, commissioned by the Orchestre symphonique de Québec.
In June 2018 his work "While 100 Guitars Gently Weep: Concerto for George", for 100 guitars, was premiered at the Luminato festival in Toronto to over 1,400 people. The work was commissioned by Luminato from Tim Brady, with Brady as guitar soloist.
Other recent touring success include the premiere of the chamber opera Ghost Tango in Halifax and Kitchener (Sept. 2015), and the New York premiere of Atacama: Symphony #3, with Newspeak and the Trinity Wall Street Choir at the National Sawdust concert hall (Oct. 2015), under the direction of Julian Wachner. His work "Journal: String Quartet #2" has toured North America to great success, performed by the New Orford String Quartet, which commissioned the work in 2013. It was released on CD by the NOSQ in early 2018.
His electric guitar collective "Instruments of Happiness" presented shows for 100, 20 and 4 guitars to sold out houses across Canada in 2015 and 2016, and the first IoH CD was released in March 2016 on the American Starkland Records, to excellent reviews. The group has toured Canada twice (2017, 2018), presenting new works by a range of Canadian composers.
Other recent orchestral pieces include Viola Concerto (Orchestre symphonique de Laval, Requiem 21.5: Violin Concerto, commissioned by Symphony Nova Scoti and Amplify, Multiply, Remix and Redfine: in memory of Les Paul (for 21 electric guitars & orchestra), commissioned for the 2010 Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra New Music Festival. His most recent international success was the June 2010 production of excerpts from "24 Frames - Trance" at the Bang on a Can Marathon in New York City, as well as a 6-city East Coast US tour in September 2012.
Brady regularly tours North America, Europe, Asia and Australia as an electric guitar soloist, performing his own music as well as new works which he commissions from other composers in his effort to create a new voice for the electric guitar. He has performed at many leading venues including The South Bank Centre and the ICA (London), The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), The Darwin International Guitar Festival (Australia), the Bang on a Can Festival (NY), and De Ijsbreker (Amsterdam), Radio-France (Paris), the Barcelona Contemporary Music Festival and BKA (Berlin). He has recorded extensively for Radio-Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Netherlands Public Radio, Radio-France, Spanish National Radio and National Public Radio in the USA. In 1999 his Strange Attractors World Tour took him to 10 countries for a total of 23 concerts. The ensemble's most recent tour in March and April 2014 took them to the USA and Australia, including a broadcast recording for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation show New Music Up Late.
His new music ensemble Bradyworks has toured Canada six times (1991, 1994, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2009), performed in the United States, and records regularly for both the CBC and Radio-Canada. The ensemble released its first CD in 1991, entitled Inventions, and released its second recording, Revolutionary Songs, in 1996 to coincide with its performance at the Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville. In the autumn of 2003 the group released its third CD, entitled Unison Rituals, and presented its first European tour, including a radio performance for the BBC Radio 3 programme "Hear and Now", along with concerts in Aberdeen, Dublin and Cork. The ensemble recently presented Brady's two chamber operas in highly successful productions: Three Cities in the Life of Dr. Norman Bethune (Montreal, 2003 / Toronto, 2005), and The Salome Dancer (Kitchener, 2005). In May 2008 it presented 5 performances of the multi-media work My 20th Century in a tour across Québec, including a performance at the Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville. My 20th Century's success continued in 2009, with a 10-city Canadian tour, to rave reviews.
In January 2013 his work "Atacama: Symphonie #3" was named "Best new composition of the year" at the Prix OPUS. In 2004 he was awarded the Prix OPUS for "Composer of the Year" by the Conseil québécois de la musique, for the outstanding quality of his work as a creative artist. In Nov. 2006 he was awarded the Jan V. Matejcek Award by SOCAN, for the most concert music performance royalties in Canada for 2005 (francophone category). From 2008 to 2013 he served as the "composer-in-residence" with the Orchestre symphonique de Laval, working with music director Alain Trudel to build a creative music presence in the orchestra and in the city of Laval.
In addition to his work as a composer and guitarist, from 1994 to 2004 he served as the Artistic Director of Innovations en concert, a company which he founded. It is one of Montreal's main new music producers, and during his tenure as director he produced over 100 concerts of contemporary music from across Canada and around the world. He also has written for Musicworks Magazine, and has served on the boards of Codes d'accès, The Canadian League of Composers and the Music Gallery. He was the founding president of the Canadian New Music Network, serving from 2005 to 2014."-Tim Brady Website (https://www.timbrady.ca/TB_bio.html)
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• Show Bio for Clemens Merkel
"Clemens Merkel's unconventional sound defines a new sensibility in contemporary music, through its intimate purity of tone, its settled understanding of microtonal or unconventional harmonic language, and its unhurried sensitivity. He is well known for innovative interpretations of Bach and John Cage, and is sought after by composers worldwide as an inspiration for new repertoire. His diverse collaborators range from the Wandelweiser collective to Montréal's Musique Actuelle community, and from emerging experimentalists to today's most revered composers.
For over a decade, Merkel's unusual sound has fused with that of the Quatuor Bozzini, considered one of the world's leading string quartets. Together they have mentored an entire generation of creators through the Composer's Kitchen; have released numerous critically acclaimed albums on their collection qb label; undertake multiple tours annually to be featured at festivals worldwide; and maintain a profound impact on the music scene across Canada and Europe in particular. They nourish Montréal audiences with unusual self-produced events that bridge worlds and cross boundaries of style, generation and culture.
Following an early career in Europe, where he contributed to the continent's leading ensembles, Merkel has made Montréal his home since 2000. He supports and advocates for new music in Québec and in Canada, and is regularly sought after as speaker, curator and adviser. His presence is felt in academia as well, through articles written for the Revue Circuit, and through his teaching at Concordia University. He's a passionate chef and lives in Montréal's Portuguese neighborhood together with his wife Isabelle Bozzini and children Félix and Béatrice."-Quatuor Bozzini website (http://www.quatuorbozzini.ca/en/select/bio/?id=merkel_cl)
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Scene 1 - Montréal (2005) 18:00
1 prelude: Three Cities: You Must Remember (Pai-Chou-En) poem, To Pony, Aug. 31, 1935 and letter, Oct. 8, 1935 (N. Bethune); poem: To Pony, Aug. 31, 1935 and letter, Oct. 8, 1935 (N. Bethune)
2 poem, An Immigrant (Dorothy Livesay, Montreal)
3 Incantation 1, letter, Nov. 6, 1935 (N. Bethune)
4 poem, Depression Suite (Dorothy Livesay, Montreal)
5 letter, Oct. 8, 1935 (N. Bethune)
Scene 2 - Madrid (2005) 17m40s
6 prelude: El Segador (songs from the Spanish Civil War)
7 poem, The Defense of Madrid, the Defense of Catalonia, (Rafael Alberti, Madrid)
8 The Evacuation of Malaga, pamphlet, Feb. 7, 1937 (N. Bethune)
9 poem, I Come from Cuatro Caminos, Jan. 1937 (N. Bethune)
Scene 3 - Chin Ch'a Chi (now: Shanxi-Charhar-Hobei) (2005) 12m31s
11 poem, Untitled (Lu Xun, China)
12 Incantation 2, letter, Aug. 15, 1939 (N. Bethune)
13 poem, Autumn 1939, (Dorothy Livesay, Montreal)
14 reprise, letters, Aug. 15, 1939 and July 1, 1939 (N. Bethune)
15 final letter, Nov. 11, 1939 (N. Bethune)
descriptions, reviews, &c.
"This chamber opera for voice, electric guitar, piano, percussion, saxophones, string quartet and tape has been performed in Montreal (2003) and Toronto (2005). It tells the life of the Canadian doctor and humanitarian Norman Bethune (1890-1939).Interweaving extracts from Bethune's own letters with poetry of the 1930s, Three Cities in the Life of Dr. Norman Bethune explores the psychological and social elements that propelled Bethune to leave his comfortable life in Montreal to fight with the Republican International Brigade in Spain in 1936, and finally to join the Chinese Army in early 1938. The work follows Bethune through three cities over the course of 5 years in one of the most turbulent eras of 20th century history as he seeks to make sense of the world, to fight for what he believes in, and to confront his own mortality."-Ambiances Magnetiques
Canadian Composition & Improvisation
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