Le Chant Du Rossignol

I was recently talking with friends (with whom I’m rehearsing some renaissance music) about how birdsong has been represented / imitated musically throughout history. One of the most beautiful birdsong I have experienced myself is nightingales singing in crisp air, right after some good rainfall.

Youtube has some nice nightingale recording, for all those who can’t experience this first-hand.

Among the many occurrences in musical compositions, this excerpt from “Le Chant Du Rossignol” by Igor Stravinsky strikes me as particularly resembling, though that may just be my own musical / aesthetic bias showing through. (Just listen carefully to the beginning of this excerpt and compare that to the very beginning of the nightingale recording above. Isn’t that amazing ?)

There are many others, such as Olivier Messiaen’s “Chants D’Oiseau”, or even his “Quatuor pour la fin du temps”. And of course, there are many older ones, too, such as Janequin’s “Le chant des oiseaux”, which appears a little affected in comparison.

It might be interesting to build a themed concert out of this and similar material.

Montreal Jazzfest

It’s this time of year again. I typically don’t go to many concerts, but instead take my refill a little earlier in the year, at the Festival Musique Actuelle in Victoriaville. Not so this year. The FIMAV organizers had decided (or where forced) to skip a year, so I went looking for interesting concerts here in Montréal to take in. Usually this is a little hard, as the festival has somewhat degraded over the years, to the point that some even call it the “Carneval du Jazz”.

I was lucky, though, and got to see two concerts: One with Gary Burton, Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow, and Antonio Sanchez. The other with Bill Frisell, Ron Miles, Tony Scherr, and Rudy Royston.
Both concerts were fabulous. As each time, I’m totally blown away by Bill Frisell’s ensembles, and their musicality.

Polyphonies Corses

Last night we went to a concert friends of us gave, together with an invited ensemble from Corsica: Barbara Furtuna.
The concert was amazing. In particular, I noticed the homogeneity of the singers. Their vocal technique gives them an unusually wide range of harmonics, making it easier to adjust the pitch.
One of the singers noted in the concert that they don’t actually read music, making a collaboration such as this one particularly challenging.
(How do they communicate to work on pieces performed together with other groups such as Constantinople ?)
Barbara Furtuna