Monday, May 1, 2017

Into the World of Madness SMCQ Concert

            An extraordinary Tribute to Claude Gauvreau in Soirée à L’asile

The tragic poet, Claude Gauvreau, born in 1925, riled against, Catholicism, repression of all kinds and the fact that words never really correctly express the deep feelings of people. In fact, Gauvreau created his own language, “exploréen”. A genius out of synch with his time, a misfit, and a being not born for human banality, he became a great poet who was largely ignored, unfortunately. We saw a clip of him in the third act of this weird but wonderful evening where he is reading his poetry to a small crowd of people at Théâtre Gésu in Montreal.
He committed suicide – some say and others say he fell off his roof. Undoubtedly, he was a man in extreme turmoil. Acerbated beyond repair when his muse/actor, Muriel Guilbault committed suicide –an artist with whom he collaborated in creating the play, “Bien-être”. He was so obsessed with her that when she died, he saw his sanity slip; Mr. Gauvreau ended up in an insane asylum at one point in his life.
The concert I saw featured the heart-wrenching music composed by, another genius, Walter Boudreau – recent winner of Governor General Prize in the Spectacle Arts in the classical music category.
 The piece we heard first performed on piano by Alain Lefèvre was macabre and magnificently dark. When Matthieu Fortin, joined him to recreate the piece with four hands, the breadth and terror in the piece became so evident. No one would ever play the work without being a virtuoso pianist – and then some.  The composition stunningly brought to the ear and eye how insanity can be translated into a musical score.
The opening of the concert had slow-moving zombies wearing white masks onto the stage. An incredibly large improvised instrument with a myriad of strings tightly taught to a middle spoke ushered in sounds of horror and melancholy as actor, François Papineau took the stage ranting as a mad man. While he acted out his madness, André Pappathomas (the gifted leader of these “zombies” – the singers are actually the choir of Mruta Mertsi) played the huge stringed instrument that stood like a huge door. His fingers nimbly traveled al over the strings that looked like a spider web in terms of their placing on the spoke. His fingers became spindly-type spiders traveled all over the “web’. It was amazing to watch and listen to.

In my mind, the evening belonged to Alan Lefèvre and his partner on the other piano, Matthieu Fortin and of course to Mr. Boudreau who sat slightly in front of the two pianos as he conducted the two awesome artists.
It was an evening where geniuses unite. Is it possible that genius is synonymous with madness? In the case of Soirée à L’asile, it certainly was.
What an astounding concert!

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