Mountain View Festival presents:
Michael Hope, bassoon
“SONG OF THE FOREST”
The Music of Claude Lapalme (1962-)
Claude Lapalme: Aubade Sylvestre
Claude Lapalme: Minuetoropo
We are extremely grateful for the continued financial support from all of our donors that has allowed us to continue to host Isolation Point Virtual Concerts while we all struggle through the third lockdown. Musicians have been particularly hard hit and I would like to thank Calgary Arts Development for their recent Short Term Relief Grant that has allowed us to continue presenting projects and supporting musicians during COVID-19. I would also like to thank all the fabulous musicians who have dedicated their time and talents to this project.
As Aldous Huxley said, "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." I believe that the International Festival of Song and Chamber Music Society (Mountain View) can provide a beacon of hope for our local artists. I started an online performance project called Isolation Point Virtual Concert Series for local Calgary area musicians where they can still perform and be paid for their online performances by our organization. In this time of intense challenge and difficulty, I see this as an opportunity to provide a helpful way forward. These performances continue to be intimate and a stark reminders of this intense and surreal time. We are still under a physical distancing order and cannot play together. We are again alone in our performances unless we are fortunate to live with a musical partner.
You can access these special performances through our website, our newsletter, our new YouTube Channel on our website, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and live through the Polaris Centre link. These concerts are free for our listeners – please enjoy! But we also hope you may be able to donate. Donations for Isolation Point Virtual Concerts are being used at this moment to help as many local musicians as we can – your support is most appreciated for this local cause. We will have several performances over the next while featuring Alberta artists. The adventure will continue with a variety of musicians coming your way for as long as we can continue! Meanwhile, we continue to work on our Winterreise project, and thank you to all the donors who have contributed to this film! It is well on its way and we hope to have some clips ready soon!
Kathleen van Mourik
Program notes by Michael Hope
For years I’ve been hiring Claude Lapalme as the orchestral arranger for my symphonic pops productions. During this time I’ve come to learn that his arrangements always sound full, rich and very very lush. This is because he knows how to make musicians feel comfortable when playing his music by arranging within comfortable resonant registers and always writing with good humour and cheer.
So, when I heard that he had written two new pieces for unaccompanied bassoon, I jumped at the chance to play them. And am I ever glad I did, because these two pieces are filled with everything that puts a bassoon player in a good mood. I love how the Aubade Sylvestre is filled with longing and desire while also having some funny commotion going on in the middle of things. The Minuetoropo is clever in how it quotes the first 3 notes from J.S. Bach’s Minuet in G (from his 1st Cello Suite) then mixes it up with crazy I-like-to-live-in-America 6/8– 3/4 rhythms from Venezuela’s National Dance, the Joropo!
These pieces came from a gift that Claude made to the musician community in 2020 when the pandemic began. To lift musicians from their “pandemic blues” he offered (without compensation) to write short solo pieces to whoever requested them. In 24 hours he received 58 commissions and completed them all within 12 weeks.
Here are the composer’s notes on these two pieces:
The Aubade… was commissioned by Canadian Forces bassoonist Danielle Joy Findlay. Aubade is a morning song. Sylvestre refers to the forest. In a way, the piece was inspired by the turn-of-the-century French school of woodwind writing, where nature imagery is frequent. It is a killer for breathing as the piece goes from accompaniment to melody all the time. The tune does have a resemblance to Shostakovich 5, but that is actually accidental. There is a certain sleepiness to the piece, as if one is gently waking up in the woods; but the middle part is more active: it's a bit like surrounding critters are spurring on the poet to wake up.
Minuetoropo, a humorous take on the Venezuelan Joropo, was written for Edmonton-based bassoonist and baroque bassoonist Pablo Montes. As he is from Venezuela and commissioned the piece for baroque bassoon, I combined rhythmic elements from both the Minuet and the Venezuelan Joropo, a dance which is replete with 3/4-6/8 ambiguities.
MICHAEL HOPE has been the Assistant Principal Bassoonist of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra since 1982. He graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he was a student of Bernard Garfield and Sol Schoenbach. He plays on a 5000 series Heckel Bassoon which recently turned 100 years old and has just been masterfully restored by the great Frank Marcus. In addition to playing the bassoon, he has a remarkable second career as a highly-praised vocalist. He first sang a symphonic pops show with the Calgary Philharmonic in 1990. Since then, he has appeared as a popular soloist with nearly every Canadian orchestra. As a singer, he first gained recognition as the winner of the 1984 Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival Rose Bowl, and First Prize Winner in the 1988 CMC International Stepping Stones Competition. A prolific recording artist, he has made a number of critically-acclaimed albums, and his latest CD of Classic inspirational songs, “Hallelujah” won a Covenant Award Nomination for “Inspirational Album of the Year.“ A native of Toronto, he loves living in Calgary and has treasured every moment of his career in the Calgary Philharmonic. His passions include cooking, repairing his old Toyota Camry, watching TV and obsessing over NHL hockey and The Calgary Flames. Learn more about Michael by visiting his website at www.michaelhope.net
CLAUDE LAPALME is a conductor by profession, arranger/orchestrator by compulsion, and a composer by accident. Trained in Toronto and the Hague, he has been, for the past 30 years, the Music Director of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra in Alberta, and the founder and Artistic Director of Rosa Barocca, a period instrument baroque ensemble based in Calgary since 2016. He has taught various topics such as counterpoint, orchestration and conducting at the University of Toronto, the University of Calgary and Burman University. A laureate of the Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors (obviously in a previous millennium), his skills as a conductor have been complemented in the last twenty years by a dual role as arranger and orchestrator, with many of his orchestral arrangements performed around the globe. In the summer 2020, Claude Lapalme embarked on a “first come, first serve” composition project for solo instruments, completing and donating 58 short solo works for various instruments in order to offset Covid-induced cabin fever. He resides in Red Deer, where his real claim to fame is being crazy enough to BBQ on his deck every month of the year, even in -35 C weather.