Friday March 1st, the Canadian Music Centre’s New Music in New Places and Music in the Barns came together to celebrate the work of three Canadian contemporary composers. Nestled into the alt gym/health cafe/venue Academy of Lions, we popped over to class up our weekend and soak in some strings. Both the opening piece (Rose Botlon’s The Coming of Sobs for String Quartet) and closing (Scott Godin’s “all that is solid melts into air” for String Quintet) were stunning in their own right, but it was Richard Reed Parry’s Quartet for Heart and Breath that had us melting.
Parry, who many may know as the dashing tall ginger from Arcade Fire, has written a piece in which the performers literally breathe new life into it each time. While all of the notes and cues are written in the score, the composition’s rhythms and tempos are based upon the quartet’s breath and heartbeat. With each musician wearing a stethoscope (like a DJ wears headphones), the quartet quite frankly listens to their heart. Gushy beautiful stuff right? Yeah. We totally agree.