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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 11, No. 1


September 22, 2005

Fausse note à la Maison de la musique

Ce devait être l'événement de l'année, tant attendu des mélomanes et des musiciens de Québec. Enfin, le Palais Montcalm, maintenant « Maison de la musique », devait ouvrir ses portes après les rénovations qui l'auraient transformé en salle à l'acoustique exceptionnelle, de calibre international. Mais voilà. Des dépassements de coût de l'ordre de 4 millions de dollars sont prévus pour réaliser la dernière phase des travaux. La Ville de Québec a donc décidé de lancer trois nouveaux appels d'offres pour accomplir cette dernière phase : pour réparer les dommages causés par l'incendie de février, pour construire le toit et pour terminer les travaux d'architecture et de finition. L'ouverture, prévue en mars 2006, est donc reportée... à une date inconnue. Voilà un beau casse-tête pour les compagnies qui avaient prévu utiliser la salle cette année. Bernard Labadie, directeur musical des Violons du Roy, a qualifié la situation de catastrophique. Comment composer avec une « date inconnue » quand les saisons sont planifiées un an, voire deux ans à l'avance ? Ensemble en résidence à la future Maison de la musique, Les Violons du Roy avaient annoncé le concert d'ouverture de la salle pour le 25 mars. Trois concerts de leur programmation étaient prévus au Palais Montcalm et d'autres ensembles avaient planifié utiliser la salle (notamment l'OSQ, qui prévoyait y faire un enregistrement et un concours). Il est possible que la Ville de Québec offre un dédommagement aux Violons du Roy et aux ensembles dont la programmation est dérangée par ce retard. IP

The Dawn of a New Day: Downloading mania

The BBC has come under fire after making all nine Beethoven symphonies available for free download during the first week of June. Anthony Anderson, the managing director of the Naxos classical music label, said the actions of the Radio 3 Web site "devalued the perceived value of music."

Anderson was responding to the resulting overwhelming interest in the Beethoven clips. The total number of downloads was around the 1.4 million mark, a number far surpassing the annual sales of classical music record labels. The most frequently downloaded clips were of the lesser-known first and second symphonies, suggesting that the BBC reached an audience that was previously unexposed to Beethoven.

"Providing Beethoven for free download bends the rules, as taxpayers' money is used to compete against commerce," said Mario Labbé, president and founder of Analekta, Canada's largest independent classical record company.

Music teacher Lucie Renaud disagrees. "The BBC effectively reached the public. After being exposed to the music, listeners will perhaps buy classical albums and attend a concert or two, thus boosting the classical music audience."

With all the generated attention, the BBC is planning a week of Bach later this year. SS

"Piano Man" speaks

The "Piano Man" was released from hospital in England and has returned home to Germany. The man caught the attention of media around the world in April, after he was found soaking wet on the south coast of England and refused to speak a word to anyone. He had no identification and no one successfully identified him even after his picture was released. After drawing a detailed pencil sketch of one, the man was given access to a piano. He played excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and songs by John Lennon, earning the nickname "Piano Man."

A British newspaper printed claims that the man would only "tap one key continuously" but hospital staff have refuted that, maintaining that he performed at the level of a skilled amateur.

After months of silence, the man finally spoke to hospital staff, revealing that he is from Germany and came to England after losing his job in Paris. Hospital staff will not confirm reports that the man had attempted suicide prior to being found on the beach. The German embassy would only state that, "This was a neutral affair for us, it was someone who had lost his passport and needed to get back to Germany and we helped him." KH

Marin Alsop's appointment with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra controversial

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra made history in July with Marin Alsop's appointment as music director. This marks the first time a woman will head a major American orchestra, though not without controversy. Orchestra members have argued that the search for a director ended prematurely and other candidates should be considered. A letter from an orchestra member was leaked, claiming that Alsop lacked the skills required for a music director.

Alsop has been the principal director of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in England since 2002, and has also directed the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz and conducted the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood this summer. Prior to her appointment with the Baltimore Symphony she made several appearances with them as guest conductor.

Alsop has reacted to this controversy with shock. The Boston Globe quoted her as saying, "All I knew was, every time I worked with the orchestra we had a great time, we did great concerts, they always asked me back for more weeks. I thought, oh, this feels really natural, this is going to be great. And then it was like, what happened here?" She has met privately with the musicians and is committed to continuing with the orchestra. Her plans include recording with Naxos, a label she has recorded with conducting the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. KH

Comité de levée de fonds de La Scena Musicale

L'édition d'un périodique culturel est rendue extrêmement difficile par le manque de subventions gouvernementales destinées au budget de fonctionnement. Cet été, LSM a malheureusement essuyé des refus du Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec et du Conseil des arts de Montréal. En conséquence, nous sommes à la recherche de personnes talentueuses afin de former un comité de levée de fonds créatif et efficace. Contactez-nous au (514) 274-1128 ou à l'adresse info@scena.org. Merci de votre soutien !

La Scena Musicale Fundraising Committee

Publishing a cultural magazine is difficult due to the lack of operating government funding. This summer, both the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Conseil des arts de Montréal turned down our applications. Consequently, LSM is forming a strong fundraising committee and is looking for more keen and talented individuals who care to make a difference. Please call (514) 274-1128 or info@scena.org.

(c) La Scena Musicale