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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 17, No. 3 November 2011


by Wah Keung Chan / November 1, 2011

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Two new halls (Maison Symphonique and Bourgie Hall) opening in Montreal in the span of two months signals the return of the importance of acoustics to the presentation of live music. After all, some consumers still avoid going to concerts when they can get better sound listening to a CD on their home audio system, but studio recordings often fail to capture the spontaneity and excitement of a live performance. The two halls now open up new possibilities: the Maison Symphonique is suited for large ensembles, while the Bourgie Hall works well for chamber music. Living the experience is something we should cherish. In this issue, we look at the new Bourgie Hall and give a review of the Maison Symphonique.

Sound fidelity was supposed to be the next great innovation for music in the 1990s, following the successful compact disc of the 1980s. The Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio were supposed to fight it out to establish the new mass media audio format. Instead, the winners came in the form of online music formats such as the MP3, which are, ironically, of lower quality. It turns out that the majority of consumers were less concerned about fidelity than accessibility and portability.

Right on the heels of the rise and fall of Napster, Apple launched the iPod and the iTunes music store in 2000, selling tracks at $0.99 each and proving that it is still possible to generate a profit selling recorded music. Steve Jobs, who passed away last month, revolutionized the consumption of music. We in the music and arts industry have much to learn from this visionary.

This month, La Scena Musicale continues to celebrate the joys of listening to music both live and on disc with another content-packed issue looking at exciting upcoming concerts and recent audio and video releases. Our cover feature is conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni who takes over as I Musici’s new artistic director. We also look at Dvořák’s Rusalka, which will be performed for the first time in Quebec this month (Opéra de Montréal, Nov. 12-19) and speak to violinist Isabelle Faust and cellist Stéphane Tétreault, both appearing in concert this month. This edition also includes our helpful annual guides to competitions and summer music institutes, and subscribers can read about the disc of Schumann performances by pianist Mathieu Gaudet that they will receive free this month (courtesy of XXI Records).

Thank you for your private and public messages of appreciation as we continue our 15th anniversary year, some of which we published in our commemorative edition last month.

Continue to let us know what you think!

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