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We’re just a little early in celebrating our nation’s birthday with this excitin concert of Canadiana. Works by Godfrey Ridout and John Burge will serve as a prelude to our performance of a brand new work by master Canadian composer John Estacio – a piece specially commissioned by seven Canadian orchestras, including the SSO, to commemorate this milestone year in our nation’s history.
G. Ridout (1918-1984)
J. Estacio (b. 1966)
O. Morawetz (1971-2007)
THE CANADIAN SHIELD
J. Burge (b. 1961)
LÉGENDES OP. 76
In many ways Godfrey Ridout can be considered the quintessential Canadian Composer. Born in 1918 his works generally encompass the middle of the 20th century, and are written with the intent to please the widest possible audience. Ridout’s aesthetic owed much to the English post-romantics. He greatly admired Vaughn Williams and Elgar, and he strove to be their Canadian counterpart. Most popular are his sketches of Ontario life, including Fall Fair and Jubilee orchestral works that are the celebrations of the kind of fairs and festivals so characteristic of the Canadian experience.
Czech born Canadian Composer Oskar Morawetz is one of Canada’s most frequently performed composers. A true Romantic, he strove to compose music that was immediately accessible to our emotional centers. Lyrical melody, lively rhythm, secure polyphony and innovative exploitation of instrumental colour were hallmarks of his style. Graceful works in a happy vein, such as Carnival Overture (1946) and Overture to a Fairy Tale (1956), are typical of Morawetz’s early music.
Québecois composer Jacques Hétu described his musical style as incorporating “neo-classical forms and neo-romantic effects in a musical language using 20th-century techniques.” He also had a great love of the theatrical, which led to his prolific concerto writing. He conceived these works as kinds of mise en scène of the soloist and his or her physical and psychological surroundings.
Légendes (2007) is a late work for the composer, who passed away in 2010, but retains that youthful sense of theatricality and dynamism. The three movements of Légendes each tell a different French Canadian Folk Tale: Alexis Le Trottier is the story of a man from Sageunay who claimed he could outrun anything, including horses and trains; Le Diable au Bal tells the haunting tale of a young woman bewitched by the devil and burned for her own vanity and Le chasse galeire speaks of a flying canoe bewitched by Satan himself. Listen closely and you’ll hear the stories that helped to shape French Canada in the time of les coureurs du bois.
Guy is equally at home in classical or contemporary genres. Through the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Canada Council, Factor and the Ontario Arts Council, he has debuted new works by Canadian composers including Glen Buhr, Peter Hatch, Alain Trudel, Melissa Hui, Mathieu Lussier, Linda Bouchard, Boyd McDonald, Jacques Hétu and many others. A prolific recording artist, Guy has released CDs on numerous labels including S.N.E., Arsis Classics, CBC Musica Viva, CBC SM5000, Naxos, MSR Classics and the Hänssler Classics labels. Recording awards include a Grammy for Penderecki Credo (OBF/Rilling/Hänssler), and Best Classical Orchestral Album from Just Plain Folks Music Awards (guy and nadina/TCO/Kevin Mallon/MSR).
Guy is based at Wilfrid Laurier University where he teaches trumpet and coaches chamber music.