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Heading North

clockwise from top left: John Rea, Claude Vivier, Emily Hall, Aaron GervaisMaybe it’s all that cold, dark and ice; stuck inside with nothing else to do for a lot of days must be conducive to composition. At least it feels that way with regard to Canada, since this huge but relatively sparsely-populated space has what seems a disproportionate number of composers that I just love.

And now the Canadian Music Centre has made it awfully easy for YOU to love them as well; at their site you’ll now find a service called CentreStreams, which offers streaming access to the Ann Southam Audio Archive. This comprises a huge number of concert and radio recordings made by the CBC, of Canadian composers A to Zed. Not only that: where else could you find 41 (!) archival recordings of seminal Canadian composer Claude Vivier‘s music — with no less than 6 (!!) different versions of Pulau dewata – all at your computer’s beck and call? They also have a nifty feature that can give you a random paylist by genre (piano, orchestra, vocal, etc.), so your listening experience is never the same twice. Many composers even have the scores of works freely available as PDF files.

You do have to register (free) to get the streams, but it’s quick and painless. CentreStreams is accessible from the CMC homepage, but even easier is heading to the “find a composer” section and browsing the alphabet. Besides the established names there’s also a fair collection of the young guns as well, so you can be right expert on contemporary Canadian music in no time! Personal favorites old and new, that I can pretty well guarantee for excellence, are John Rea, Claude Vivier, Emily Hall, Aaron Gervais (all four pictured above), José Evangelista, R. Murray Schafer, Melissa Hui, John Mark Sherlock, Linda Catlin Smith, Allison Cameron, Rodney Sharman, Monique Jean, Gyula Csapo, Louis Dufort, Gilles Tremblay, John Kosrud, Chiyoko Szlavnics… the list goes on and on. What better way to pass a little of your own closed-in winter days, than discovering some new favorite piece or composer?


Comment from Mell
Time: January 20, 2009, 3:13 pm

I heartily recommend Jan Jarvlepp.

Comment from Robert A. Baker
Time: January 21, 2009, 11:23 am

Jean Lesage is a personal favourite (… okay he was my MMus advisor, so I’m a little biased!) and John Rea (… biased again! PhD advisor!)
But great to see some attention to the CMC archives. It’s really a free goldmine of new music.

Comment from Taylor Brook
Time: January 21, 2009, 6:33 pm

More favorites:

Bruce Mather
Brian Cherney
Harry Somers

and also the commenter above: Robert A. Baker

Comment from Steve Layton
Time: January 21, 2009, 7:37 pm

Gee, then *I* nominate Taylor Brook! ;-)

(Really, y’all go and check Taylor out, too; he’s got listening a-plenty here:)

Comment from Jacob Sudol
Time: January 22, 2009, 1:01 am

Hahaha, I know John Rea (former mentor), Aaron Gervais (who I keep running into in CA), and Emily Hall (who I saw last time I was in Montreal)… and Rob (who I also saw last time in Montreal) and, of course, Taylor… (Hi guys!)

I’d recommend also Denys Bouliane whose music I keep going back to…

(Shucks that I’m not Canadian myself… :P )

Comment from John S. Gray
Time: March 24, 2009, 5:06 pm

Intersting, also, to hear all those segments from TWO NEW HOURS, after CBC’s Stalinist attempts to wioe it from history (i.e. no mention of it on the CBC site anywhere, after 29 years of work…

Go to:

and search with the words HOST LARRY LAKE in the KEYWORD box. hundreds of listening files come up, all with Mr. lake’s erudite talks with the composers preserved.