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Strand, Under the Dark Cloth Jean Derome

… l’auditeur sera frappé par la sobre et limpide beauté d’une musique immense d’humanité. ImproJazz, France

Strand… is one of Derome’s most satisfying projects and confirms why his music deserves wider acclaim. Exclaim!, Canada

After composing for dance (La Bête / The Beast Within) and theatre (3 musiques pour UBU), the ever-prolific Jean Derome has now made music for cinema with his album “Strand, Under the Dark Cloth.”Composed in 1988 as the soundtrack to the eponymous film by John Walker, this soundtrack is conceived as a “suite in black and white,” gradually building and developing into a portrait of a photographer, a pioneer and a great artist of the twentieth century: Paul Strand. The music for “Strand, Under the Dark Cloth” is a passacaglia of sorts, whose main melody represents the elegance, grace and beauty of Paul Strand’s work. Orchestrated for a large ensemble of strings, winds, percussions and voice, this album bears witness to the impressive range of Jean Derome’s compositional work, an oeuvre resolutely of its time which always manages to thrill us and keep us surprised.

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Strand, Under the Dark Cloth

Jean Derome

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In the press

  • Randall Mcilroy, Coda Magazine, no. 294, November 1, 2000
  • Luc Bouquet, ImproJazz, February 1, 2000
    … l’auditeur sera frappé par la sobre et limpide beauté d’une musique immense d’humanité.
  • David Lewis, Exclaim!, September 9, 1999
    Strand… is one of Derome’s most satisfying projects and confirms why his music deserves wider acclaim.
  • Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 182, July 19, 1999
  • Downtown Music Gallery, May 1, 1999
    Jean Derome has done an incredible job here… Bravo!

Review

Randall Mcilroy, Coda Magazine, no. 294, November 1, 2000

Jean Derome pays homage to photographer Paul Strand through his compositions for the film Strand, Under the dark cloth (Ambiances magnétiques AM 064 CD). A setting like this could impose limitations. Consider the timing, musical vignettes that tick in at 24 seconds to just over four minutes on 18 tracks. However, Derome turns out to be a person with flair and each of the tunes tells a story, no matter the time. The portraits he unveils are hypnotic, gorgeous and stunning. He is not averse to staying away from free expression that melds percussion heavy grooves, voices and a melodic imprint in its rythmic texture. Adding that final touch to a rewarding album is the eclectic voice of Karen Young.

Critique

Luc Bouquet, ImproJazz, February 1, 2000

Strand — Under The Dark Cloth est la b.o.f. du film de John Walker consacré au photographe et cinéaste underground Paul Strand (1890 — 1976). Signées par le saxophoniste Jean Derome, les dix-huit pièces de ce compact sont le plus souvent les illustrations musicales des photographies de Strand. Comme toujours en pareil cas l’image manque. Informé ou non du contenu, l’auditeur sera happé par la sobre et limpide beauté d’une musique immense d’humanité. Mais l’on aurait aimé goûter à l’œuvre dans son intégralité, car point besoin d’être devin pour deviner que le film de Walter ne sera probablement jamais distribué en France. Reste la musique; captivante, douce, mystérieuse, comme toujours chez Derome.

… l’auditeur sera frappé par la sobre et limpide beauté d’une musique immense d’humanité.

Review

David Lewis, Exclaim!, September 9, 1999

Derome has to number among Canada’s most diverse, entertaining and prolific composers. This film soundtrack features him on flutes, tin whistle, alto saxophone, piano and percussion, as he leads a 12 piece orchestra in a program of 18 miniatures distinguished by their cohesive suite-like flow. The composer’s melodic flair shines as Claude Maheu’s oboe states the lovely theme of Rebecca while timpani (Abstraction), steel drums (Blind Woman) and delicate percussion fills (La Galerie,) show Derome’s rhythmic invention and his mastery of harmonic colour and minimalist detail. Pascale Beaudry’s violin and the wordless vocals of Karen Young add consistent charm and dramatic strength to a project that ranges from the vibrant African vamp of the heavily percussive Ghana (Hope) to the sprightly folk themes of Hébrides (A Song & A Dance). Paul Strand, Under the Dark Cloth is one of Derome’s most satisfying projects and confirms why his music deserves wider acclaim.

Strand… is one of Derome’s most satisfying projects and confirms why his music deserves wider acclaim.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 182, July 19, 1999

Derome who composed for dance and theatre in the past, here presents his first soundtrack. A first soundtrack by known musician makes me always curious. Will it show the artist from a totally other side or not, as making filmmusic has its own possibilities and restrictions? The following quote gives a little insight into how Derome copes with this: “To compose music for a film is to translate a film into music. […] When I compose a soundtrack, I start by listening closely to the sounds that are already there. I listen to the texture of the voices, ambient noises, extraneous sounds, snatches of music that are already there, I observe how the actors move, how they dance on the screen; I ask myself if they really mean what they say. ” Orchestrated for a large ensemble of strings, winds, percussion and voice, this cd presents 18 compositions that show the range of Derome’s compositional work. It’s a soundtrack to the film Strand under the Dark Cloth by John Walker. It’s a film on the work of the famous photographrer Paul Strand. The film has many and long sequences of photographs. The included booklet gives some info on this photographer and some of his photos’ are printed here.

Review

Downtown Music Gallery, May 1, 1999

This is Jean’s elegant and haunting soundtrack for a film by John Walker which is a portrait of the fascinating American photographer & filmmaker — Paul Strand. Derome utilizes a 12 piece ensemble, which includes his usual collaborators René Lussier, Pierre Cartier and Pierre Tanguay. Strand led a long & interesting life (1890 - 1976), traveling, taking photographs and making films, from New York to Gaspé to New Mexico to Mexico itself, before moving to Europe, from France to Italy to Scotland to Egypt to Ghana and back to France. The film and soundtrack capture Strand’s lifelong trek. The music here is rich, varied, like the life it portrays. There are four themes explored throughout, each one weaves strands which are often stark, pure, often minimal, graceful, delicate, provocative, contemporary classical moments, exquisite folk melodies, breathtaking, occasionally sad, yet always filled with the strength of an ever - changing journey of captivating images. Jean Derome has done an incredible job here, the music stands on its own as pure poetry in sound, an enriching experience is in store for all of us who listen closely. Bravo!

Jean Derome has done an incredible job here… Bravo!

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