Music & Ceramics Combine: Queer Composers Celebrate Camp Fires

Posted by Wayves volunteer 10/26/2014

One of the works on display at CAMP FIRES:The Queer Baroque of Léopold L. Foulem, Paul Mathieu, and Richard Milette at the SMU Art Gallery.

On Sunday, November 16, the Musikon Concert Society will present a concert of new Canadian music celebrating the work of three gay Francophone ceramic artists currently on display in the Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery.

Now in its fourth season, Musikon has consistently delighted audiences with its concerts of music written by established and emerging Canadian and Atlantic composers. The works are chosen to reflect and connect with the concept or vision of the various artists whose work is on display in the Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery at the time of each performance.

The current exhibit at Saint Mary’s is entitled Camp Fires: the Queer Baroque of Léopold Foulem, Paul Mathieu and Richard Millette. Since the specific works of the three artists in this exhibit openly celebrate the fact that they are gay, our concert will highlight the musical works of four openly gay Canadian composers from across the country.

The music chosen for this concert concentrates on two aspects of this exhibit. The first focuses on the idea of the Baroque, that elaborate and busy style in architecture, art, and music that delights the eye and the ear with its ornamentation and complexities as embodied in the music of Bach and Handel.

The second aspect of our concert is the concept “camp,” the art of creating works that are audacious, sometimes ridiculous, works that take the norms of established aesthetics and develop them to the extreme.

To reflect the concept of the Baroque, two works have been chosen.  Both Baroque Diversion by Ontario composer Marjan Mozetich and Traditional Music by Halifax composer Michael Parker highlight their unique take on the Baroque period and quote passages from well-know works by Bach, Bruckner, Mozart, and Strauss.

The other works on the programme celebrate “camp.” Toronto composer Michael Park’s Art Song Lib takes the idea of the art song and turns it on its head. His piece is in two parts. The first asks the audience for input into the text of an art song that will be sung in part two. The text is already outrageous; but when audience members begin to suggest even more outrageous elements, the result is hilarious: no two performances will be the same.

Vancouver composer Rodney Sharman’s work Cabaret Songs will conclude the concert. These are witty and sometimes outrageous parodies of both the art song and the cabaret song. They include Crossing Over (a touching lament to the poet’s cross-dressing lover), Yoga Song (about the only man in an all-women yoga class), and Tobacco Road, a love-song to the cigarette. These songs are the very definition of camp.

These exciting works will be performed by some of the best musicians in Halifax: sopranos Janice Jackson and Paula Rockwell, the Blue Engine String Quartet, violist Susan Sayle, and pianist Barbara Pritchard.

The concert takes place in the Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery on Sunday, November 16 beginning at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $20 regular and $10 for seniors and students. For more information, call (902) 864-5794.



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