field studies is a CD of chamber music by Canadian composer Emilie Cecilie Lebel. There are five tracks on the record; each around twelve minutes long, scored for various small forces and recorded in different locations.
The pieces are all different but they have one thing in common. They make a few notes go a long way! evaporation blue, which opens the album is typical. It’s scored for piano and harmonica; both played by Cheryl Duvall, and it’s very sparse with the notes typically given long time values. It’s quite evocative in a slightly tense kind of way. It’s also recorded with a lot of resonance which has to be deliberate since it was recorded at Revolution Recording in Toronto.
Last night was the one of only two chances to see Bicycle Opera Project in Toronto this year. (The other is tonight). It was a show in collaboration with Toy Piano Composers’ Collective called Travelogue and featuring four new works around the broad them of travel. The show was run without an interval but with each composer introducing their own work by reading, e.g., post cards from their travels or, hilariously, in the case of the absent Tobin Stokes, recordings of the voicemails he left apologising for not having finished the piece yet. Staging was, in the BOP way, minimalist but effective.
I was back last night to see Bicycle Opera Project’s Shadowbox again. This time it was in the more intimate, and highly appropriate, setting of a bicycle shop; Curbside Cycle on Bloor Street. Minus the high roof of the Davenport-Perth Community Centre it was much easier to understand the sung text which is pretty important with this show. The show is an interesting concept. It’s still a series of scenes by different composers and librettists but they are linked thematically by the common idea of memory and dramatically by the auction of objects that set up each scene The auctioneer is rather brilliantly played by Chris Enns who, curiously, seemed quite sinister at Davenport-Perth (like something out of a German Expressionist movie perhaps) but seemed quite avuncular close up.