electrocd

Review

David Olds, SOUNDNotes, September 1, 1992

With this release, the DIFFUSION i MéDIA company, which has been so successful with its empreintes DIGITALes line of CDs, launches a new label: SONARt. Dedicated to the proliferation of “invisible musics,” SONARt will focus on radiophonic works specific to the broadcast medium. This first release includes two well paired works by successful Quebec composers: Atlantide, by Michel-Georges Brégent and Golgot(h)a by Walter Boudreau. The two works are similar in scope and approach, and have both experienced some international success.

Composed in 1985, Atlantide is divided into seven sections that use a variety of musical approaches and languages to explore the tale of the lost city of Atlantis. From vocal soloists and childrents choir, through contemporary strings and winds, to saxophone quartet and baroque ensemble, with abundant use of computer synthesis and manipulation, Atlantide moves through a plethora of modes and moods in its submarine explorations. It is quite an effective work, and the 1985 jury of the Prix Italia (an international competition for radiophonic works) awarded it a First Mention and the Special Jury Prize.

Like Atlantide, Golgot(h)a was commissioned by Société Radio-Canada and was produced in its studios by a cast of dozens. It is a 1990 composition and, like its companion piece, it is roughly a half-hour in length. The original text is by Raôul Duguay and — in a bizarre fashion — is an account of the crucifixion of Christ. Personally, I find the computer treatment of Duguay’s voice unnecessarily unpleasant and some of the text, such as the recurring “photocopy” inexplicable. Overall, however, this is a successful piece that makes skilful and interesting use of a choral response by the 16th-century Spanish composer Luis de Vittoria, upon which all of the music is based. This work was the 1991 winner of the Grand Prix Paul Gilson, awarded by the Community of French-Language Public Radio.

This CD is an interesting and important release for the fledgling SONARt label, and it is especially encouraging to see SONARt pick up some of the slack left by current CBC/SRC recording policies. One can only wonder at the lack of vision at the “Corporation,” which endlessly releases standard and middle-ofthe-road modern repertoire on its own labels and then ends up leasing out original, internationally successful works to tiny labels. Thank goodness for the foresight and dedication of the people at DIFFUSION i MéDIA.

… original, internationally successful works…