Ensemble SuperMusique @ TENOR Performance

Concordia Dance Blackbox, John Molson Building

May 26, 2018

8:30 PM

Presented by Ensemble SuperMusique

Ensemble SuperMusique performs works by Cat Hope, Ciaran Frame, Joane Hétu & Manon De Pauw, Danielle Palardy Roger & Marta Tiesenga

$10 at the door


CAT HOPE (Melbourne, Australia)
For two voices, bass flute, bass clarinet, violin, viola, guitar, bass, percussion and electronics.

More than 30 years ago, academics started to discredit “truth” as one of the “grand narratives” which clever people could no longer bring themselves to believe in. Instead of “the truth”, which was to be rejected as naïve and/or repressive, a new intellectual orthodoxy permitted only “truths” – always plural, frequently personalised, inevitably relativised. All claims on truth are relative to the particular person making them; there is no position outside our own particulars from which to establish universal truth” (Andrew Calcutt, 2016 : https://theconversation.com/the-surprising-origins-of-post-truth-and-how-it-was-spawned-by-the-liberal-left-68929).

Using this statement as a starting point, Pleasure Garden of Post Truth explores the concept of ‘truths’ through the sampling and reversioning of the acoustic instruments in the ensemble. The grand narrative is destroyed, a new orthodoxy created and everything you hear is relative to the people listening.

The words sung state “Australia now ignores laws of basic #HumanRights”. This is a quote from former president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, at an oration in 2017. She notes that “the idea of alternative facts which had credibility has created an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ world where words mean what we choose them to.”

THALLUS (2017)

What does lichen have to do with music? Walking through the tundra in the Arctic Circle, I was struck by the beauty and complexity of the communities of lichen beneath my feet. In many ways, it strikes me as a natural notation which we are now unable to read. It has structure, community, networks and it changes, both temporally and from location to location. For decades, scientists have used lichen as an environmental indicator – a ‘sensor’ for pollution, warming and cooling that doesn’t use batteries. I have set out to find what musical interpretation and performance can bring to a natural indictor such a lichen, and what may be uncovered about the Arctic environment in the process.
Thallus is a generative music notation system based on lichen in the Arctic Circle. It provides a means to ‘perform’ the many diverse communities of lichen found underfoot in the environment of Kilpisjärvi in Northern Lapland, Finland. Scores are generated on a per-performer basis, and are based on the synthesis of traditional notation with lichen samples from the environment. Thallus was created with the driving principle of consistent interpretation that allows for sonic comparisons of Arctic lichen, and thus a window into changing Arctic environments through sonification. A survey of current research led to a greater desire for retaining integrity and consistency in performer interpretation within the field of graphic notation and sonification of natural data. Graphic scores are typically associated with a semi-improvised tradition of score reading. Seeking a greater amount of consistency and ensemble integrity for a graphic notation system, Thallus introduces a semi-structured framework, generating sheet music based on performer input on a per-performer basis.

In 2013, Joane Hétu approached Manon De Pauw to collaborate on an animated score. Together, they created D’un geste de la main (With one movement of the hand) for Ensemble SuperMusique’s concert Machination. The animated score D’un geste de la main is composed of manipulations of coloured acetates (translucent gels used in theatre lighting) on the surface of a light table. While the audience perceives one continuous movement, the piece is actually a montage of multiple gestures performed before the camera. This chromatic and geometric étude could have been executed using solely digital means, but this was not the case. This work subscribes to research of “”performative images””, where the body is present, though sometimes very subtly, in the formal construction of the piece.
From this original animated score, Hétu proposed a musical reading wherein the principal parameter consisted of “”playing the image””, with each part (divided into 10 equal sections) distributed to one of 10 musicians. For this new version in 2018, Hétu and De Pauw are revisiting the score and its interpretation. Does the animated score boil down to playing the image? How does the image bring something different to the music, distinct from pure improvisation? Without explicitly answering these questions, Hétu and De Pauw have added and elongated moments free of image, in order to encourage and facilitate moments of unstructured improvisation so that these two worlds can coexist, flowing between structured and unstructured playing. Beyond these considerations, D’uN
geste de la main is a work that arises from a symbiosis between the animated score, the musical parameters outlined therein, and Ensemble SuperMusique.

Tinnitus is the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound; in its subjective form, it can only be heard by the affected person. These perceived sounds are what I call “”ghost sounds””: they are both familiar and persistent. This composition attempts to both classify and share with other musicians and listeners a few of these “”ghosts””.
This piece was commissioned by Productions Plateforme with support from FIMAV and Fonds de recherche et création de Productions SuperMusique.

Based off of an aerial view of Vík, a town on the southern coast of Iceland, this piece recreates Vik’s topography using five distinct animated symbols (assets) to populate the screen. Each asset contains different meanings and is assigned unique musical functions over time for different instrument groupings over the course of the piece. Instrument groupings are mainly coordinated according to timbral textures and modes of sound production. Specific pitch content is initially derived from spectral analyses of field recordings taken on location and then elaborated to relate to the visual representation. This piece operates under the belief that the outcome of improvisatory dynamics of groups acting as single/cooperating populations mimics the contingent relationships of weather, erosion, and proliferation of plant life that affect a landscape’s identity. The value of displacing and transforming information across differing modes of interpreting / comprehending to reach new representational outcomes is explored as an extension of this belief.

Ensemble Supermusique:

Joane Hétu, voice / alto sax.
Cléo Palacio-Quintin, flutes
Philippe Lauzier, bass clarinet
Ida Toninato, voice / baryton sax.
Guido Del Fabbro, violin
Jennifer Thiessen, viola
Bernard Falaise, electric guitar
Pierre-Yves Martel, electric bass
Isaiah Ceccarelli, drums
Maxime Corbeil-Perron, electronics
Ensemble leaders: Joane Hétu, Cléo Palacio-Quintin, Danielle Palardy Roger

Ensemble SuperMusique features key composer-performers from Montreal’s long-standing and renowned Musique Actuelle scene, featuring contemporary music-making that synthesizes composition and improvisation as well as acoustic and electronic instrumentation. Founded in 1998, the ensemble is currently directed by Joane Hétu and Danielle Palardy Roger, and comprises various personnel depending on the project, with each performer drawing on their skills and vocabulary as an improviser in the execution of the ensemble’s repertoire. The ensemble performs works by its members, commissions pieces by a range of contemporary composers, and plays ‘classics’ from the history of graphic and aleatoric composition. In addition to self-producing events in Montréal and on tour, Ensemble SuperMusique has performed at major events including the Festival International de Musique Actuelle Victoriaville (FIMAV), the Guelph Jazz Festival, and the Toronto Music Gallery X-Avant Festival. The ensemble’s work has been featured on eleven recordings on the Ambiances Magnétiques label, including its most recents discs, Les porteuses d’Ô (recorded live during the premiere at Le Vivier in May 2017) and Résistances, by Jean Derome (2017).