Christophe Huss -- Le Devoir, January 27, 2012
From the Artist
My relationship to this music is not the kind chosen by composers, who have created emotions that are attached to images, to a reality conceived for film. Rather, I was inspired by pure music, ignoring conveyed images, and taking it elsewhere in order to recreate my own musical universe. What I feel when I play these works comes from the music, and my approach has been comparable in all respects to the one I favour when working on my repertoire. That is why pieces that are first of all functional go beyond their role by defying time and, breaking out of their framework, become masterpieces.
With great pleasure, I have fashioned the orchestral sound of La PietÃ work by work in order to communicate sound palettes specific to each, by integrating in the different sections of the ensemble the colours and textures that blend with my solo playing. I have opted for long, generous phrases, in which the grain of the bow is perceptible and the chords vibrate with such osmosis that the number of musicians is multiplied rather than added. Such are the natural harmonies of our instruments that they become an exponential equation.
I have always loved conveying the complete spectrum of sounds my violin offers. Sometimes you will hear my violin whisper, as if it were divulging a secret. I have also explored my vibrato, which at times allows for a roundness of tone that is characteristic of my style, and at others, by its near absence, creates a sought-after emotional sensitivity. Here and there I have added sometimes generous glissandi, but also barely perceptible, subtle inflections, like a gentle caress.
I have made my selection by way of music, a choice that was built up over many years, as much through the memory of a melody already heard as through the discovery of heart-winning favourites.
For a long time some of the composers presented here have drawn my attention, for example E. W. Korngold, whose Concerto for Violin I am especially fond of, but to whom we also owe grand symphonic works for film, which have inspired many others.
I cannot forget Joe Hisaishi, with whom I had the pleasure of touring in Japan. To perform in 14 large concert halls, including the famous Tokyo Opera, and to share the stage with him during five weeks while playing his compositions can only establish strong links. Whether playing familiar or new works, I easily imagine myself playing at his side.
Ennio Morricone remains my number one melodist. Time and again I hold back a nostalgic tear when I play his music, as my violin finds the phrase and vibrates along with ease.
“Smile”, the theme from Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, is presented here in an adaptation by Claus Ogermann, its essential elements transmitted in a language stripped of artifice, with jazzy colours. It has held a truly special place in my heart ever since I first heard it.
My recollection of Memoirs of a Geisha is of course filled with images, but it is while listening to Itzhak Perlman’s violin that I began to dream of playing this melody by John Williams.
My Heart Will Go On remains a magnificent song, and like all Quebecois, I feel a touch of pride when I think of the great achievements of our Celine. Here, I asked Claude “MÃ©go” Lemay, a musician I respect and who, having been on stage with her so often as pianist and music director, knows the world of Celine Dion musically better than anyone else.
Through the years, I have played and recorded other great film scores, all irresistible, which have accompanied me on stage, all over the world. As a bonus to this album, you will find these unforgettable masterworks associated with film: Joe Hisaishi’s Princess Mononoke, Stanley Myers’ The Deer Hunter, my friend FranÃ§ois Dompierre’s A Fairy Tale, John Williams’ Schindler’s List, and Ennio Morricone’s The Mission.
For 35 years now, I have been sharing my passion and enjoying what is for me one of the most beautiful professions in the world. Without language barriers, I have been able to travel in more than 40 countries and have made my instrument sing, cry and dance. I have always thought that the violin was capable of transmitting the whole range of human emotions, as is the case here with this collection of musical treasures from the seventh art. The music speaks, no need for images. I suggest that you offer yourself this gift and attach your own images overflowing with memories.