Friday, December 18, 2009

New Music from Ensemble Contemporaine de Montreal

It is quite obvious that the "new" new music isn't exactly like the "old" new music in the field of contemporary classical. It isn't afraid to incorporate influences from rock and jazz; it can be more tonal that its 20th century predecessors, or alternatively, not. The rhythmic qualities of any given piece are not predictable. Again, all sorts of influences from world and popular sources can be involved. It also does not draw a distinct line between electronic and acoustical music.

This can all be experienced first hand in the new release by the Ensemble Contemporaine de Montreal, Nouveaux Territoires 03 (ATMA Classique). The CD makes available four new pieces by composers with whom most will not be familiar: Andre Ristic, Michel Gonneville, Michael Desterle and Nicole Lizee.

Four new works, four composers of today. Ristic gives us a sonically advanced world for violin and chamber orchestra. Michel Bonnevile creates very compelling music for mezzo-soprano Michele Motard and ensemble. Ms. Motard does not sing entirely in an operatic mode which is refreshing, and her voice is subject to an electronic alteration that extends and reinforces the musical impact of the work. Michael Desterle provides our ears with a sonic landscape that combines spacial sprawl with unusual pairings of instrumental colors. Finally Nicole Lizee dazzles ones senses with very vibrant chamber orchestrating.

These are works that show the influences of the musical and cultural worlds we all experience right now. All four composers transform those experiences into music that is very contemporary, yet also very listenable, compelling, even quite pleasurable. If you want another take on the chamber orchestra today, this is an excellent place to look!

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