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Volume 10 Issue 8 - May 2005

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STEENHUISEN: Patrick,

STEENHUISEN: Patrick, please tell me about the piece you 're having played here at the World Music Days. SAINT-DENlS: It's called Les dits de Victoire, which means "The sayings of Victoria". There's a series of novels by the French-Canadian author Michel Tremblay called Les Chroniques de plateau Mont Royal. It's a big saga with plenty of people and is a good portrait of Quebec society from the twenties through the fifties. Victoire is the grandmother, and she's very old and says very salty things like "Don't tell me that a girl who works after eight o'clock is an honest girl". She also says "ls it me who's crazy, or the rest of the world", and that's the sub-title of the piece. The third novel of the chronicles is the one in which she dies, and in every part of the novel there is a linle salty saying of Victoire's. STEENHUISEN: ls the piece somehow representative of the novel? SAINT-DENlS: The piece is about the third novel, but it's not descriptive. I'm much more interested in the form of the novel. There are several stories, and it's very nonlinear. In each story, he compresses time. The beginning of the story will be around fifty or sixty pages, and in the end of the book the stories are like little paragraphs. It's very musical. At the end, the characters change stories, and they even change sex, so the stories al I met t into each other. It was this formal approach that inspired me, and for me it works. My piece is very nonlinear, and I have three ideas which gradually shrink up. • STEENHUISEN: How does That work, musically? SAINT-DENlS: The piece works with the morphology of the material. I'm working with very specific objects that have a very specified typo-morphology. I then differentiate them for each story. I have a more rhythmical idea - that would be like one story, then one more static one, which we would identify as another music.' STEENHUISEN: So it's Layers, and how they interact? SAINT-DENIS: They aren't layers, they're one after the other. It's a sequence of musical characters. That's why I say that it's three different musics. Generally speaking, the materials are quite simple. The first is an A-minor chord, another is a unison and another is its consequent, a cloud of pizzicato. texture in the high register. The third is a STEENHUISEN: Do they maintain their character all the way through, or do you develop them? SAINT-DENIS: I develop them, yes. They're all expanding in their own way. Otherwise, it's completely abstract, and there's no other musical information given in how they are ordered. I don't know that you listen so much to how they are ordered, but it has a surprising effect. STEENHUISEN: You said you were interested in this story because of its nonlinearity. Why does nonlinearity interest you? SAINT-DENIS: It's much more modern. It's a much more contemporary way to tell a story. The rhetorical aspect of it is much more appealing to me, because things are less obvious, and as a listener you have to work harder. I'm breaking process and taking them farther into the piece, and they seein as though they've been erased by another music. evolves over time. STEENHUISEN: The piece is for acoustic instruments - two string quaneTs. It Yesterday you were talking about how you use the computer for processing material to be used in an acoustic piece. How does that relate here? SAINT-DENIS: It doesn't really relate to this piece, because it wasn't done with the computer, although it could have been, because there are several processes in the piece that can be formalized. Very simple augmentation, basic processes of patterns, rhythmic and harmonic patterns - but now I use the computer, and plan the architecture of a piece, and the various processes that will be involved on all the basic parameters and are subject to parametric control. STEENHUISEN: What do you use for this, and how? SAINT-DENIS: I use Open Music, a software from IRCAM, mainly for interpolations between different chords. It's something that I call morphing. I take a melody, and treat it as a sound wave, then I morph that with another soundwave. This enables me to morph one melody into another, over several periodicities. Another approach to using the software is more statistical. Recently, I wrote a piece for solo cello where I manipulate an Irish folk melody I recorded from a fiddler in Gaspesie. What happens in the piece is a process that resynthesizes the folk melody using Markov chains. I first translate the notes of the melody into a sequence of letters, then do a Markov Analysis to find the patterns in it. Basically, what you hear in the piece is a gradual appearance of the folkish style as I travel through the different levels of the analysis. STEENHUISEN: Why does working this way interest you? SAINT-DENIS: I think the computer helps me to go somewhere that I cannot hear. So I go further than my ears, and I find things I never would have met. It's not about having a distance, or approaching things in a formalist, structuralist way, it's getting to a place beyond intuition - powered intuition .. Hearing powered by scientific technology. STEENHUISEN: What has arisen for you related to this festival? SAINT-DENIS: The program notes of another composer at the ISCM festival said tnat music, and art in general, had lost its social responsibility, that we haven't got the same responsibilities as before. I kind of agree with him. The idea of social responsibility in art is old, like the· twenties and thirties, up to the late sixties. I think that now, art has to deliver a much more fundamental message. STEENHUISEN: Such as what? SAINT-DENIS: Love, and more human issues. My music is intended with these sensibilities, but it's not easy, or soft listening. I think this is a big difference from music written in the second half of the twentieth century. STEENHUISEN: When did this change take place? SAINT-DENIS: In the '80s. I'm completely obsessed by my time. I know very well that I'm not in the '50s or the '80s. I come after the guys who reacted to the big revolution. I think it's quite frightening to be after after. Violin, Viola, Cello & Bow S_ales and Repairs Serving Canada Since 1956. 24 stores including: Toronto: 925 Bloor St.W. 416-588-7886 North York: 2777. Steeles Ave.W. 416-663-8612 Scarborough: 1133 Markham Rd. 416-43g·8001 Oshawa•: 902 Simcoe St.N. 905-434-1612 Brampton•: 370 Main St.N. 905-450-4334 Burlington·: 3180 Mainway Dr. 905-319-3330 Mississauga•: 900 Rathburn Rd.W. 905-273-3939 •Lessons available at these locations. Call for details! Announcing our professional bow rehair service. 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BAND Stana EACH MONTH when I by Merlin Williams benefit the Out of receive the listings for the Cold program. the next issue of The The City of WholeNote, I scan Brampton Concert through the file look- Band's guest on ing for band concerts. May 14 is trumpet Most of them tend to virtuoso Allen Vizfall on the weekends. zutti. The concerts For some reason this will feature many of month as I examined Vizzutti's own the schedule, I Harnist Joan Watson works for concert couldn't help but think "Gee, why band, as well as some of the standaren 't there any concerts on the third ard trumpet showpieces like Carniweekend of the month?" Then I re- .alized - it's May already, and that's Victoria Day weekend. There are val of Venice - though if you think you've heard that piece too many times, I think his rendition will still few things I know of that are sillier surprise you! . than putting a concert on a major Horn soloist Joan Watson is guestholiday weekend. Put a concert ing with the Intrada Brass on May there, and you won't have much of 29 in a program entitled "Horn of an audience. Or a band, for that Plenty" at the Oakville Centre for matter. the Performing Arts. Joan is the horn Band concerts don't often revolve player with the True North Brass and consistently around the same themes, Principal Horn of the Canadian Opother than at Christmastime. This era Company Orchestra. She's also month, though, it seems like every served as Associate Principal Horn concert falls into one of four themes: with the TSO and played for the To­ VE Day, springtime, music from ronto run of "The Producers." around the world or featured guests. The Hannaford Street Silver VE Day concerts include the Bur- Band rounds out the month's roster lington Concert Band with the Big of guest artist concerts with trom­ Brant Swing Band May 1, the East · bonist Alastair Kay and conductor York Concert Band May 2 and the Etobicoke Community Concert Band May 6 & 7. Band tributes to spring include the Festival Wind Orchestra on May (also a trombonist!) Alain Trudel on May 29. Kay is the trombonist with the True North Brass, and was lead trombone with Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass. This is an afternoon 10, and the North Toronto Com- concert, and there will be a pre-conmunity Band on May 14. The Markham Concert Band's "Around the World in Ninety Min- Remember to check the main listutes" on May 1 and the North York Concert Band's "Music Without Borders" on May 29 obviously fea- ture works from around the world. The featured guest category is full of goodies this month. The Metro- Woodwind doubler Merlin Wilpolitan Silver Band is teaming up Iiams is an Artist/Clinicianfor Jupiwith the Northdale Concert Band cert chat with HSSB co-founder Ray Tizzard and maestro Alain Trudel. ings for complete info on these and many other worthy concerts. And band PR people .,. make sure you start getting your summer park con- cert listings together! ter Music Canada. lfyou would Like on May I. Directors Fran Harvey an upcoming band event to be feaand Stephen Chenette have put to- tured in the Bandstand column, congether a program of Howard Cable's . tact merlinwilliams@sympatico.ca works for brass band and concert or phone 416-803-0275. band. The concert proceeds go to JHARKNETT Musical Services Ltd. MUSIC BOOKS BEST SELECTION OF POPULAR & EDUCATIONAL MUSIC Piano - Guitar - Instrumental Experience a oe-of-a-kind outdoor concert like no other! Dave Koz & Friends Jeffrey Osboinf'. Milrc 1te-ar:ance··· in Ontario! June 12 Also featuring the smooth jazz stylings of: • Alexander Zonjic & Friends • Alfie Zappacosta • Coral Egan (Jeff Lorber and Kevin Whalum) • TI1e Clayton/Scott Group • Karen Gale-TI1omton • Pieces of a Dream • Robert Michaels • Chantal ChiJmberland Date: June 11 & 12, 2005 11am - 10pm location: E.D. Smith Fruit Farms 938 Barton Street, Winona ON Included with your ticket purchase is access to the VQA Wine tent, Food Court, and admission to the Niagara Fruit Education Centre and its Farm/Escarpment Wagon Tours. Sponsored in part by: 11J

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