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Voir dans le vent… Ensemble SuperMusique, Symon Henry

  • Canada Council for the Arts • SODEC

Voir dans le vent… highlights the improvisatory invention and detailed listening of Ensemble SuperMusiqueThe WholeNote, Canada

The music unfolds gently and cautious, leading up to delicate and fragile constructions… Vital, Netherlands

This album was recorded live in concert as part of the exhibition of composer Symon Henry’s graphic score “Voir dans le vent qui hurle les étoiles rire, et rire” at Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur in Montréal. This outstanding 168-page score, hand-drawn by the composer himself, was performed by ten improvisers from the Ensemble SuperMusique under the direction of Danielle Palardy Roger.

Each musician had to follow the score unfolding on his/her own iPad, while it was simultaneously projected on a screen for the audience to be seen. Divided into five movements followed by an Epilogue, this piece allows us, amongst other things, to visit a few “nuages d’étoiles” and “entrelacs”, and a series of “formidables Nues”. Referring to himself as a “sound draughtsman”, musicians from ESM delicately play both the outlines of Symon Henry’s drawings — whether they are thick or thin, pale or dark, straight or curved, — as well as all points making up the whole image… It is with great pleasure that the Ensemble SuperMusique has performed his graphic work.

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Voir dans le vent…

Ensemble SuperMusique, Symon Henry

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In the press

  • Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 124, June 1, 2020
  • Stuart Broomer, The WholeNote, no. 25:7, April 1, 2020
    Voir dans le vent… highlights the improvisatory invention and detailed listening of Ensemble SuperMusique
  • Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 1227, March 30, 2020
    The music unfolds gently and cautious, leading up to delicate and fragile constructions…
  • Normand Babin, Néomémoire, February 4, 2020
    I heard a lot of ecstasy, a lot of breath in voir dans le vent qui hurle les étoiles rire et rire. […] The standard will be pretty high considering how this recording is very inspired and has a brilliant technical render.
  • Avant Scena, January 23, 2020
    The music is especially expressive and emotional — the musicians are mixing up together different kinds of motions, characters and expressions. […] Here meets an unconventional andevocative contemporary academical, experimental and electroacoustic music and abstract, moving and spontaneous improvisation. […] That finally makes an inspiring, evocative and bright sound.

Focus Québec — Planètes connues

Pierre Durr, Revue & Corrigée, no. 124, June 1, 2020

Deux ensembles, dont le nombre de participants peut varier, et dont certains gravitent dans les deux! Créé à la veille du présent millénaire, l’Ensemble SuperMusique rassemble une vingtaine de musiciens, compositeurs, interprètes de la scène de Montréal. Si l’ossature est formée essentiellement des musiciens du collectif D.A.M.E., il en agrège d’autres encore selon les projets, avec à la clef un album tous les quatre ans (l’année 2016 connut toute foi deux productions, Jeux de Pistes et Les Accords intuitifs). Si les compositions des premières productions émanaient surtout des membres fondateurs (Derome, Tétreault, Roger, St-Onge, Hétu), l’ensemble s’évertue aussi à interpréter des compositions issues de la musique contemporaine établie (Tempest de John Rea, par exemple). Avec Voir dans le vent qui hurle les étoiles rire, et rire, l’ensemble s’attache à une seule œuvre et à un seul compositeur, et pas n’importe lequel Symon Henry est en effet un personnage assez singulier, qui dans ses compositions use des arts visuels en proposant des partitions faites de dessins (168 pages en ce qui concerne cette œuvre), en s’inspirant de Cornelius Cardew et de quelques pratiques plus actuelles comme celle de Jennifer Walshe, et en laissant aux interprètes le choix d’user de techniques non conventionnelles dans leur jeu instrumental. Si la pièce avait été préalablement interprétée (en 2016) par l’Orchestre symphonique du Québec, elle trouve sa véritable dimension avec cette version proposée par l’Ensemble SuperMusique, sous la direction de Danielle Palardy Roger, lors de l’exposition de l’œuvre graphique, un écran projetant celle-ci pour permettre au public de la suivre… Le Ratchet Orchestra, plus vieux que l’Ensemble SuperMusique de presque une décennie, rassemble aussi compositeurs, interprètes et improvisateurs de la scène montréalaise (quoiqu’accueillant aussi un musicien originaire de l’Ouest canadien, Josuah Zubot). Il est dirigé par Nicolas Caloia, par ailleurs contrebassiste et principal compositeur de l’orchestre (comme dans ce Coco Swirl), même si à l’occasion il peut se mettre au service d’un autre compositeur (Malcolm Goldstein, in Soweto Stomp, cf. R&C No. 109). Une dizaine de titres, dont une suite en six parties [«Before Is After»] concluant l’enregistrement, offre à certains instrumentistes l’occasion d’œuvrer en petites formations (notamment dans les deux premiers titres), mais ces interventions sont ponctuées voire dramatisées par l’ensemble avec des stridences et certains effets bruitistes faisant naviguer l’auditeur entre différents climats, parfois presque contemplatifs, avant de s’aventurer vers des terrains plus angoissants. L’orchestre emprunte les chemins d’un jazz improvisé expérimental, souvent proche de l’écriture contemporaine, dans une approche toutefois un peu plus aisée que celle de Symon Henry.

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 1227, March 30, 2020

The first generation of musicians from the Ambinaces Magnétiques from Montréal are still very productive. This counts for example for Ensemble SuperMusique, founded in 1999 and directed nowadays by Joane Hétu and Danielle Palardy Roger. Their projects always are about crossing borders between improvisation and composition, using electronic as well as acoustic instrumentations. This time the ensemble is compiled of: Isaiah Ceccarelli (percussion), Guido Del Fabbro (violin), Jean Derome, Lori Freedman (clarinets), Joane Hétu (alto sax, objects), Pierre-Yves Martel (violin de gamba, cither), Danielle Palardy Roger (direction), Alexandre St-Onge (electric bass), Scott Thomson (trombone), Guillaume Dostaler (piano), Rémy Bélanger de Beauport (violoncello), Guido del Fabbro (violin) and Jean Derome (alto sax, flutes, objects). No electronics this time on this live recording that was “part of the exhibition of composer Symon Henry’s graphic score Voir dans le vent qui hurle les étoiles rire, et rire”. Symon Henry is a young multi-disciplinary artist and researcher, interested in combining concert music, visual arts and poetry. For this new work he wrote a 168-page hand-drawn graphic score. It is a work in six parts taking almost 52 minutes, played in one continuous flow. The graphic scores a series of very abstract and minimalistic drawings. So I guess each performance is totally different. As interpreting graphic scores leave plenty of room for the musicians, who make their own individual choices in interpreting the graphic score. For so far this can be called a setting of improvised music to some extent, it is not one whereby the performers directly respond to another. But surely they also made their choices considering the dynamic, etc of the total sound and flow of the music. The work continues more or les as a continuous stream, built up from often long extended movements and gestures by the performers. The music unfolds gently and cautious, leading up to delicate and fragile constructions, united by the direction of Danielle Palardy Roger.

The music unfolds gently and cautious, leading up to delicate and fragile constructions…

Review

Normand Babin, Néomémoire, February 4, 2020

voir dans le vent qui hurle les étoiles rire et rire by Symon Henry already had a life. Created for the opening of the new Pavilion Lassonde at the Musée des Beaux-Arts du Québec by the Québec Symphonic Orchestra, it is under the arrangement of Danielle Palardy Roger for the Ensemble SuperMusique it has been recorded in 2018. The music of Symon Henry is particular by being partly improvised, their scores being drawn instead of being written with traditional notation. Curves, ascents and descents lines define the melody when the density of the traits and the colors define the orchestration and the volume of the sounds. The part of the musicians playing this music is then huge in the interpretation being done. But the listeners also have their voice in the interpretation of this music. Symon Henry writes (draws) their music as poetry, leaving space for diverse ways of understanding. Then, in order to review the listening I have done, you reader have to accept this is nothing more nothing less than my personal way of hearing this music. One between thousands.

The piece has six sections which will be played without stop. voir dans le vent qui hurle les étoiles rire et rire begins with Grandes horizontales et nuages d’étoiles. We can guess that these long horizontal lines will not touch each other, these lines, as unstable as they are, do not meet. This premiss is quite contemplative and ecstatic and express the impossibility of some connections, some communications. Les rencontres (meetings) happen in the second part. The straight lines are superposed to a clattering background from the strings and the piano. A solo by the cellist, took back by the saxophone shows a greater dramatic tension, what meetings and splittings sometimes also have. This movement ends on animals songs, those animals sounds like they are suffering, are breathless. With a transition at the cello — decidedly, Rémy Bélanger de Beauport hits it here — into the third part, Entrelacs et épurations, see the cello and the piano put down the marks for what will be following. After a stop in the flow, the sounds are shorter, sparser. Which brings to the almost death of this long breath that lead the piece from the very beginning. The fourth part, Accords et impulsions will be the catalyst for the end of the piece. The piano leads with a strong pointillism through Les nues. — we have here to define what «nues» means. In French it is a word frequently used in idioms without anyone knowing what it really means. It should be understood as the skies, cloudy or not, the clouds — On an almost dancing beat with a lot of pats is superposed huge descending glissandos, rocket ascending lines, exacerbated climaxes, ecstatic coitus. Here is the big earthquake, where everything happens. It ends on a plateau of high pitched strings and woodwinds, not coming back from their cloud until the end of the last section, Résonances. Once again, we hear long horizontal lines. The piano, the percussions and the cello are in the low of their respective register. Everything ends without having these extremes meet. Soaring each on their side, those lines live their grand ecstasy apart.

Until the end of the 20th Century, music mostly was an art of reproduction. Musicians damned to reproduce as well as they could what is a Beethoven sonata, what is a Bruckner Symphony, what is a Berg opera. Symon Henry, with many other composers writes a music which offers a lot of freedom to the performance, to the expression of views by the musicians-interpreters. They also leave a lot of space for the listener to hear, see and feel what the listener wants. I heard a lot of ecstasy, a lot of breath in voir dans le vent qui hurle les étoiles rire et rire. I feel some influences, maybe from Ligeti, Stockhausen or even Messiaen. But I am totally conscious that it is only one in a million ways to listen to this music. Other ensembles or orchestras will play eventually this work. The standard will be pretty high considering how this recording is very inspired and has a brilliant technical render. But those who will perform this music anew will give us eventually a pretty different version from this one. As in poetry, everything happens between the words, between the notes. The breath and the rests modify the meaning and embody the interpretation. This beautiful production is plural: it shows drawings, extracts from the score, of course this has a lot of music and also some poetry, as you can read the list of the titles as a haiku.

I heard a lot of ecstasy, a lot of breath in voir dans le vent qui hurle les étoiles rire et rire. […] The standard will be pretty high considering how this recording is very inspired and has a brilliant technical render.

Review

Avant Scena, January 23, 2020

Voir dans le vent… is a fresh new release of Ambiances Magnétiques. An album was recorded by Ensemble SuperMusique. This ensemble is famous in contemporary academical music scene which joins together great musicians, talented composer, young talents to work together. Original interpretation of new music always are filled with innovations, extended playing techniques, sonoristic experiments, authentic traditions, modern tendencies of contemporary academical music, especially bright and rich musical language, and wide range of styles, expressions and moods gently brought together. This time, an ensemble had recorded the compositions by Symon Henry. A talented and creative composer is getting on risky combinations, provocative and original musical decisions, has his very own sound and style, and is developping exciting new conception, as well. All music is based on experimental, electroacoustic and contemporary academical music combined with free improvisation and experimental jazz. That makes a dynamic, unpredictable and touching sound.

Isaiah Ceccarelli, Guido Del Fabbro, Jean Derome, Bernard Falaise, Lori Freedman, Émilie Girard-Charest, Joane Hétu, Diane Labrosse, Philippe Lauzier, Pierre-Yves Martel, Cléo Palacio-Quintin, Jean René, Danielle Palardy Roger, Vergil Sharkya’, Alexandre St-Onge, Pierre Tanguay, Martin Tétreault, Scott Thomson and Ida Toninato — these are all the members of Ensemble SuperMusique who are playing together in Voir dans le vent…. The music is based on difficult structure and rich evocative musical language. The musicians succesfully blend together all the sections to one place — an independent and bright melody line, dynamic rhythmic section, synth tunes, electronics, gorgeous musical background and innovative instrumentation. Separate independent sections are contrasting to each other and create a bright, expressive and modern musical language. The music is especially expressive and emotional — the musicians are mixing up together different kinds of motions, characters and expressions. Spontaneous turns, sudden changes, strong contrasts, masterful virtuosity, invention and the ability to switch from the one mood to another without any force — that makes an effort to flexible, expressive, sensible and effective playing manner. The music moves from the darkest pieces mixed with sorrows, anger, aggression or — ambient, subtle and relaxing mood. These episodes are filled with silent pauses, deep contemplations changed by minimalistic samples, sonoristic experiments, strange timbres and turn out to outregeous, haunted, heavy and dark mood. When suddenly the music changes — it gets striking and twisting, rises on sparkling riffs and wild culminations. Here a lyrical, solemn and relaxing playing manner is changed by intense, active and moving pplaying manner with rich ornamental texture. Here expressive melodies filled with shrieky exclamations, hysteric riffs, passionate flowing passages, intense, nervous and complicated rhythms, monotonous sessions are rising to luminous culminations, booming sessions, wild perturbations, radiant breaking riffs and scandalous pieces. The music is played in active, dynamic and expressive playing manner — different kinds of instruments are brought together. All music is based on huge stylistic variety — spontaneous free improvisation is integrated in already arranged contemporary academical music, astonishing and evocative experimental music, synthetic and modern electronics and innovations of academic avant-garde. Here meets an unconventional andevocative contemporary academical, experimental and electroacoustic music and abstract, moving and spontaneous improvisation. An innovative and bright instrumentation is created — it’s based on home-made, strange, experimental and extended playing techniques, rare and exotic instrumental combos, modern innovations, fusion of acoustics and electronics, and ornaments, abbreviations and textures of all kinds. That finally makes an inspiring, evocative and bright sound.

The music is especially expressive and emotional — the musicians are mixing up together different kinds of motions, characters and expressions. […] Here meets an unconventional andevocative contemporary academical, experimental and electroacoustic music and abstract, moving and spontaneous improvisation. […] That finally makes an inspiring, evocative and bright sound.

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