La Scena Musicale

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cast your Vote for Les Victoires de la Musique Classique

You don't have to be French. Votes can be cast online by anyone for the candidates in the "Discovery" (Révélation) category on the site of the Victoires de la Musique Classique. You can listen to the three young candidates in each of the two categories, Voice and Instrumentalist, and decide. Vote at the site ( or at A December 19 concert with the finalist is available for viewing there.

There is a long list of awards in other categories which are selected by the academy: Recording of the Year, Soloist of the Year, Vocalist of the Year, etc. and features brief live performances by the candidates before the awards are announced.

This popular annual French program, comparable to the "Grammy" awards, airs on Sunday, February 8 at 4:30 pm. on France 3. This year's program is from Metz and announced guests include famed piano duo Katia & Marielle Labèque, keyboard star Lang-Lang, American soprano Joyce DiDonato, counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky (already a two-time winner) and the Ensemble Matheus with their conductor, Jean-Christophe Spinosi.

- Frank Cadenhead

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Anthem Challenge Winner is Canadian Gold

Colin Oberst's Canadian Gold is the new Hockey Night in Canada Theme the CBC announced last night on national TV following thousand of public votes. Oberst collects a cheque for $100,000 and half of the lifetime royalties, with the other 50 per cent invested by the CBC in minor hockey across the country.

Obertst's final version was produced by Bob Rock who added the celtic bagpipe opening. Some commenters expressed dissatisfaction with the Rock's version. Listening to both the final and original versions, I find that the original without the bagpipe intro more effective.

Previous news: HNIC Anthem Challenge Themes Not up to the Original


Saturday, October 11, 2008

HNIC Anthem Challenge Themes Not up to the Original

CBC's process to select the new Hockey Night in Canada Theme is coming to an end. On Thursday, October 9, the two finalists were announced on CBC-TV. Beaumont, Alberta elementary school music teacher Colin Oberst's Canadian Gold goes up against 13-year-old Toronto, Ontario native, Robert Fraser Burke's Sticks to the Ice.

On repeat listen, neither theme possesses the immediate attention grabbing feel of the original HNIC theme, now being used on CTV. My choice is Canadian Gold for its celtic feel bag-piped opening. However, it's melodic themes in the middle section reminds me of the opening music for a western TV series, of riding a horse over a mountain range, and not the excitement of a hockey match. Although Sticks to the Ice has a viable trumpet melody, it comes only mid-way in the 52 sec composition; the slow build opening renders it ineffective as an effective hockey theme.

The winner of the CBC Anthem Challenge, which ended at midnight Oct 10 from public vote, will be announced tonight (Oct. 11) on Hockey Night in Canada. The telecasts so far has been very professional and makes for good TV. Given the superiority of the original theme, the CBC may want to make this Anthem Challenge an annual event.

- Wah Keung Chan