Report: Casa Del Popolo! Spectacle! Lights! Music! Spirits!

Thanks to everyone who made it out to Casa Del Popolo on a lonely, chilly, Monday night.  We are grateful to Parc-X trio for the opportunity, and many thanks to the gracious staff at the mother of all St-Laurent venues.

Parc-X trio gave us a fantastically difficult act to follow, performing some original works that would pique the interest of any music lover.  I would encourage anyone curious to keep yourself up-to-date through their website.  Their music set the stage for us to do our own musical explorations, in a place quite unusual compared to the typical chamber music concert.  We decided to perform on the floor towards the center of the room.  Without being miked we thought it would be the best way to retain the intimacy associated with chamber music repertoire, and to try and literally capture the milieu of the music room or salon through our performance.  Did it work?  Send an email!

Opening the set, harpist Robin Best brought a delightful hush over the salle de spectacle, performing excerpts from Caroline Lizotte's Suite Galactique.  This set the tone for violinist Mira Benjamin, who gave yet another stunning performance of Taylor Brook's Vocalise.  We had the interesting opportunity to place the "drone" musicians around tables with bar patrons during the performance.

A few moments later, the ensemble gave the third performance of Brian Harman's new Inter/Contra for mixed quintet.  As an architectural metaphor, the piece has really started to settle with the ensemble after several performances.  Many of the work's more delicate and precise nuances had renewed clarity providing appropriate contrast with the more vibrant, electric sections.

Violist Pemi Paull cleared the air with two movements from György Ligeti's Viola Sonata.  The performance was surprisingly riveting even for those of us familiar with Ligeti's solo writing.  Finally, the entire ensemble met for Ravel's Introduction & Allegro, which I happily introduced as "the most hilariously pretty piece of music ever written."  It is certainly a unique experience to sit in a bar nearing midnight in Montréal accompanied by a live performance of Ravel's music.

Cheers to the musicians and to everyone who could join us.  We have several new projects taking shape, and are working tirelessly to keep you informed.  Your feedback is integral!

Thank you,

Portmantô performs again on December 9th and 11th at Galerie Maison Kasini in Solitude & Monogamy, an eclectic and international collection of solos and duos.