Music for a Piano; Music for a Book Nicolas Bernier

… du grand art… Circuit, Québec

Music for a Piano; Music for a Book provides ample room for debate: can any sound, in the right environment, be considered a score? And if so, what does this mean for the instrumental music industry? A Closer Listen

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Music for a Piano a été principalement composée autour d’un piano au cœur des montagnes Rocheuses canadiennes à l’été 2009.

Music for a Book est une trame musicale destinée à soutenir la lecture du roman Entre l’aurore et la nuit de Marc-André Moutquin (Collection Parfums d’ailleurs, Guy Saint-Jean Éditeur, août 2012).

  • Home Normal
  • HOMEN 040 / 2012
  • UPC/EAN 5060179701493
  • Total duration: 83:47

Not in catalogue

This item is not available through our web site. We have catalogued it for information purposes only.

Music for a Piano; Music for a Book

Nicolas Bernier

  • 2 × CD
    HOMEN 040
    Out of print

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In the press

  • Claudine Caron, Circuit, no. 23:1, July 1, 2013
    … du grand art…
  • Richard Allen, A Closer Listen, August 9, 2012
    Music for a Piano; Music for a Book provides ample room for debate: can any sound, in the right environment, be considered a score? And if so, what does this mean for the instrumental music industry?
  • Brian, Norman Records, August 3, 2012
    But take it from me Nicolas, if I get up well rested and refreshed in a morning it is because your lush minimal sounds have greeted my subconscious and made slumbertime an incredible place to be.

Critique

Claudine Caron, Circuit, no. 23:1, July 1, 2013

Connu pour ses installations sonores, ses musiques pour la danse avec les chorégraphes Ginette Laurin ou Silvy Panet-Raymond et ses disques «œuvres d’art» les arbres, Strings lines, courant.air et Travaux mécaniques, entre autres, Nicolas Bernier nous propose d’écouter de nouvelles créations. Le coffret comprend deux disques, music for a piano et music for a book, parus chez Home Normal (Grande-Bretagne). Le premier, «P», laisse entendre une musique en contrepoint de sonorités chatoyantes pour piano et de sons enregistrés sur le terrain, d’autres produits par ordinateur, du glockenspiel, du mélodica et du violoncelle, avec comme pôle le la central. Nicolas Bernier nous rappelle ici aparanthesi (empreintes DIGITALes), une œuvre composée par John Oswald quelques années plus tôt.

La musique sur le deuxième disque, «B», renvoie au roman de l’écrivain Marc-André Moutquin intitulé Entre l’aurore et la nuit (2012). Les plages du disque (au nombre de 7), toutes intitulées «Aurore», ne suivent pas les chapitres du livre (ceux-ci au nombre de 19). Pourtant, se trouve la rencontre de deux âmes sensibles sur des sujets du Nord, avec toute l’humanité qu’elle comporte. Pour le roman, qui se passe en terres du Nunavik — à Akulivik, Inukjuak, Kangiqsualujjuaq, Kuujjuaq, Kuujjuarapik, Puvirnituq, Quaqtaq et Salluit —, une trame narrative chargée des cris de colère, de douleur et de tristesse dans la vastitude, s’entend la musique ténue et raffinée de Bernier. Loin de la colonisation et de l’acculturation, son discours se joint à celui de Moutquin, qui présente le point de vue d’un Blanc, mais de l’intérieur, tel quel: «[…] la chaleur des beaux jours était encore lointaine et seul le déploiement désordonné des aurores boréales apportait un peu de lumière à ce monde enténébré dont l’immensité avalait chaque grain de clarté comme un grand trou noir.»

Comme les arbres (2008) — des images sur cartons et un disque compact qui étaient de toute beauté —, music for a piano / music for a book est aussi réalisé en collaboration avec urban9, chargé de la présentation graphique. Sur le boîtier cartonné, les images d’un piano dans une forêt ou celles des Rocheuses, les teintes gris-brun et la sobriété de l’objet plongent l’auditeur dans une atmosphère dépouillée où l’espace comme le vide vont cibler l’écoute. Au total, comment relier l’univers des Rocheuses à celui du Nunavik, les montagnes et le plat, la splendeur et le gel, le silence et les cris? Deux disques, autant de récits par la musique de Bernier, du grand art.

… du grand art…

Review

Richard Allen, A Closer Listen, August 9, 2012

Many people describe instrumental music as being “cinematic” or as “the soundtrack to a movie that has never been made”. These commonplace nods to the largest entertainment industry ignore a more obvious description: the soundtrack to a book. As a diligent reader, I can attest to the fact that the music we review makes an excellent accompaniment to almost any book, fiction or non-fiction; but that certain albums match certain books so closely that the similarities seem intentional. Nicholas Bernier‘s Music for a Book was written to accompany Marc-André Moutquin’s Entre l’aurore et la nuit, which takes place in Nunavek; Bernier’s cold expanses provide what would seem to be a perfect score. Soft drones drift like fields of white; footsteps echo in the snow; distant bells ring like the sound of rescue. And yet, these sounds also seem to match the drama of other literary works; I’ve yet to find a book that doesn’t seem right to be read while sampling these sounds. While listening, it’s energizing to imagine the expansion of such a genre: book soundtracks, created either as chapter-to-chapter accompaniment or as full-book scores. Were such an idea to catch on, a huge market might suddenly open for instrumental artists, as the number of books produced every day dwarfs the number of films produced every week.

Music for a Book is the better of the two discs here, partially due to its concept and partially to its mysterious nature (why is it raining? what is that clicking? how far away are those dogs?). But it was the second of the discs to be produced. Music for a Piano was ready a couple years ago, but Bernier decided to hold it back for “further development”. The album was inspired by the time Bernier spent in residency at a program in the Rockies, playing a piano in a cabin surrounded by crickets. This unique setting led to other subverted expectations. On Music for a Piano, the instrument is played in a playful fashion. The album’s first notes are wooden and toneless; the innards seem to have been prepared and miked. Field recordings contribute a sense of place, while occasional vox, violin and glockenspiel round out the sonic spectrum. One can imagine the isolated artist, tapping the keys from different angles, oblivious to the elements and the cold. The static of the second movement might well be that of a shortwave radio, the sound of concerned family members trying to break through. Ironically, this album also works as “music for a book”, creating a momentary anxiety in the listener, who may be led to eject the discs to confirm that the right one is being played. At times, Music for a Piano sounds more like Music for a Music Box, especially at the opening of the third movement, but this only demonstrates the breadth of possibilities still available to the artist, and to any others who may follow in his footsteps. When paired together as a two-disc set, Music for a Piano; Music for a Book provides ample room for debate: can any sound, in the right environment, be considered a score? And if so, what does this mean for the instrumental music industry?

Music for a Piano; Music for a Book provides ample room for debate: can any sound, in the right environment, be considered a score? And if so, what does this mean for the instrumental music industry?

Review

Brian, Norman Records, August 3, 2012

I’ve listened to this chapster before. Here he fleshes out his intuitive brain mumbles and musical pondering into a two-disc set of lush neoclassical tinkering and experimental electronics. Music for a Piano is the first chapter and is the sound of a man constructing tender and dark mood-scapes with this particular tremulous antiquity, his work in the electro-acoustic and classical realms comes to the fore here with some lovely sad-hued chamber strings and subtle tonal glitch. Ostinato falls some place between Nils Frahm and Machinefabriek with a spot of Dirty Three, so nice then! Some pieces here quite abstract and thought-provoking, making great use of tension and acoustic space to create something both sensual and unnerving.

Onto the other compact drinks coaster now and the track Aurore II, which features the rustles of field recordings which mingle effortlessly with more discreet acoustic clatters and bangs and the whispering carpet of open strings, vibraphone and low bass throbs. This is the kind of music I love to drift off to of an eve, although that is probably not doing the composer’s work justice. But take it from me Nicolas, if I get up well rested and refreshed in a morning it is because your lush minimal sounds have greeted my subconscious and made slumbertime an incredible place to be.

But take it from me Nicolas, if I get up well rested and refreshed in a morning it is because your lush minimal sounds have greeted my subconscious and made slumbertime an incredible place to be.

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