Diverse voices. Daring visions. A curated look at dance, drama, design, music, poetry, cinema, song, photography, opera and more. All 21st C. All dazzling. All Canadian. Online, and free. Starting Friday 2 October. One new entry a day, for a month. Visit the YouTube playlist.

Rachel, Rodney, and three for you

From our friends at Music on Main, pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, and composer Rodney Sharman, a hauntingly beautiful and evocative triptych:  Voyageur, Watchful, and Notes on Beautiful. While you listen, forbid disturbances. You’ll know why.

Maud Lewis, painter

In 2016, many Canadians discovered the painter Maud Lewis for the first time, in the film Maudie, starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke. It was revelation. Someone dismissed as a ‘primitive’ turned out to be a fountain of purity, emotional honesty, directness and courage. Here from 40 years earlier, an NFB documentary about a uniquely difficult and productive life.

James O’Callaghan and Kosuth Variations

One of Canada’s most gifted and unpredictable composers, James’ work intersects acoustic and electroacoustic media, employing field recordings, amplified found objects, computer-assisted transcription of environmental sounds, and unique performance conditions. He won his first Juno at age 26, for ‘Classical Composition of the Year’. His artistic output spans chamber, orchestral, live electronic and acousmatic idioms, audio installations, and site-specific performances, and has been performed in 26 countries. So far. We got him first.

 

Russell Braun & Russell Braun & Pearl Fishers

It’s #WorldOperaDay, and how better to celebrate than with… well, you know. Here, the immortal Duet from The Pearl Fishers (1863), by Georges Bizet. In the spirit of Canadian comity for which we are so famous, it is sung by celebrated Canadian tenor Russell Braun, and celebrated Canadian baritone Russell Braun. The duet is abetted by pianist Carolyn Maule.

Danny Boy on bass, with Gary K and Harmon L

Something about this Festival has attracted a lot of interest from double bassists and their admirers. In a futile effort to appease them, here is the legendary duo of Gary Karr and Harmon Lewis, and a folk song that needs no further.

 

Meet the Octobass at OSM

L’ Orchestre symphonique de Montréal has long been recognized as the greatest French orchestra in the world. In Canada, the OSM is a major part of our music. In our second largest city, it is a major part of Québec culture. In 2016, the OSM added an octobass to its ranks, in order to play certain rare repertoire – especially Berlioz – as it would have sounded a century ago. The instrument, modelled after an original Villaume, is 11.10 feet tall, weighs 290 pounds, and has a few hundred pieces, including 237 making up the complex mechanism of the instrument. Thankfully, it has only three strings -- but makes a strange and wonderful sound.

 

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