Music for flute and electronics by Larry Lake, Keith Hamel, John Oliver and Kaija Saariaho
Nominated for Classical Artist of the Year AND Classical Composition of the Year (for John Oliver’s Birds of Paradise Lost) by the 2016 Western Canadian Music Awards.
“Throughout, it’s Bortolussi’s consummate virtuosity which allows the listener to trace the nuances of these various techniques.” – Wholenote Magazine August 2016
A note about the CD
The four works on this recording highlight some of the incredible developments that have taken place in the electronic music world. But perhaps more importantly, these are all powerful, romantic, lyrical, beautiful pieces that take full advantage of the technology available at the time. In many ways this album is as autobiographical as it is historical: each piece came to me at a different time in my life, and each has changed me as a musician and artist. So it hardly needs saying how wonderful it is to be able to share such deeply personal music.
I was a young undergraduate flute student at the University of Ottawa when I first heard Larry Lake’s Israfel — my teacher, Robert Cram, was preparing it for performance. It was my first exposure to the idea of performing with electronic sounds, and I remember standing outside Robert’s studio door waiting for my lesson to begin, not wanting to interrupt him, fascinated by what I was hearing. I performed Israfel later that year and have felt strongly connected to it ever since. I spoke with Larry Lake several times while preparing Israfel – sadly he passed away in 2013 and never heard this final recording. But I’m grateful to Larry for his gracious and enthusiastic input, and to Robert Cram for opening my eyes to the importance of music as a living, evolving art form.
In 2010 I presented my lecture recital at Indiana University, where my doctoral degree dealt with the performance of flute music with interactive and non-interactive electronics. I performed Lake’s work again, along with two other works, Krishna’s Flute by Keith Hamel and NoaNoa by Kaija Saariaho, which together presented a kind of spectrum of interactivity between the performer and the electronic media. NoaNoa and Krishna’s Flute present similar approaches to performer/computer interaction, but they differ in the execution of the interaction. In NoaNoa, there are 63 electronic events that are triggered by means of a pedal controlled by the performer. Written more than a decade later, Krishna’s Flute also has a series of sampled sounds, voices, and live sound processing. The main difference is that in Krishna’s Flute, it is the computer that tracks the music in real time, with the electronic events triggered automatically — a new level of freedom for the performer, and a significant step forward from the rigidity of Israfel’s tape playback. – Paolo Bortolussi (2015)
Performer: Paolo Bortolussi, flute; Keith Hamel, electronics (tracks 1, 4); John Oliver, electronics (track 3)
Recorded at: Kwantlen Polytechnic University Music Auditorium, Langley, BC
Recording Engineer: Don Harder
Producer: Liz Hamel
Photography: David Isaac Photography (Paolo Bortolussi photos), Tony Hauser (Larry Lake photo)
Cover Art: None sing so wildly well (2015) by Diana Castañeda
Graphic Design: Diana Castañeda
Manufacturing: Digital Media Group www.dmadiscs.com
3. Birds of Paradise Lost
Composer: John Oliver
for flute and live electronics
Composer: Kaija Saariaho
for flute and electronics
Israfel – Music for Flute and Electronics was made possible through a Kwantlen Polytechnic University Professional Development grant.
Paolo Bortolussi – flute
Flutist Paolo Bortolussi is a soloist, chamber artist, and new music pioneer. Dedicated to championing music by living composers, he has premiered over 150 chamber and solo works for flute, including concerti written for him by Dorothy Chang, Jocelyn Morlock, and Jian-Ping Tang. Bortolussi is co-founder and artistic director of the Nu:BC Collective, a new music and multimedia arts ensemble in residence at the University of British Columbia. Firmly established as one of the premier interpreters of contemporary chamber music in Western Canada, Nu:BC has performed at Music on Main’s Modulus Festival, New Works Calgary, Toronto’s Music Gallery, Vancouver’s Sonic Boom Festival, as well as in Taipei, Taiwan, Chicago, IL, and California. As a group they have premiered works by some of Canada’s leading composers, including Brian Cherney, Michael Oesterle, and Chris Paul Harman. Nu:BC’s 2014 CD release Beyond Shadows (Redshift Records) has met with critical acclaim, being praised by Gramophone Magazine as “highly entertaining” and “most engaging”.
Raised in Halifax, Paolo is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and the Indiana University School of Music. Dr. Bortolussi serves on the music faculties of the University of British Columbia, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and Trinity Western University, and is in demand throughout North America as a teacher, clinician and adjudicator. Paolo is principal flute of the Vancouver Island Symphony where he was a driving force behind the Canadian Concerto Project, which will oversee the commissioning, premiering, and recording of five new concerti by Canadian composers for principal players of the orchestra.