Review

Den Ciul, The WholeNote, no 7:5, 1 février 2002

This recording could not have fallen on more sympathetic ears. I share a profession with M. Beaupré (harpsichord building) and also a life-long interest in electroacoushc music (and my son, Michael, is a composer in this genre).

The sounds that provide the raw material for these works were recorded in M. Beaupré’s harpsichord shop — the bumps, thumps, whirs, tappings, clickings, pluckings of harpsichords as work in progress. Some of the samples are musical, some are just sounds. The structure follows the form of a Suite (“Ordre”) of pieces by Francois Couperin, one of the brightest lights in the harpsichord world.

This is a very interesting genre as it draws composers from many musical styles, from rock to classical. The realization here is well crafted and it is evident that there is structure and development of the material. Six hours of recordings were made of the daily workings of the harpsichord shop and these sounds were processed and manipulated as computer samples. It is not music in the conventional sense, performed from a score on musical instruments by musicians. It does have thematic material and a kind of polyphony. There is exposition and development following classical forms. M. Beaupré speaks of working and assembling the parts into a whole, as he works the components for his harpsichords from carefully selected materials into the finished instrument. Here we have the transmogrification of the physical workshop into an electronic one.

The title Humeur de facteur (The Maker’s Humour) is perhaps a pun on several levels, and an indication that this work is not to be taken too seriously. This is certainly not to everyone’s taste, but it is worth a hearing. It is clever, charming, and humourous.

It is clever, charming, and humourous.

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