Tag Archives: Diefenbunker

View from the Diefenbunker

Due to the clash with The Rivered Earth, I didn’t make it to Beyond the Bomb: Music of the Cold War at the Diefenbunker on Wednesday, however a fellow concert-goer, Diana, went along and here is her review:

On Wednesday evening at 6:00 pm at the Diefenbunker Museum a very large crowd was already in line for the opening of “Beyond the Bomb: Music of the Cold War”.  Visitors were provided with a pamphlet containing a map of the facility and list of scheduled performances, and were encouraged to wander at will for the next three hours.  In various rooms one encountered musical performances, films and refreshments in addition to having the opportunity to examine the fascinating Museum and its exhibits.

This first-time visitor was very impressed with the Museum, and the addition of the musical presentations made the visit very special indeed.  Most performances lasted about 20 minutes.  In some cases a sequence of different mini-concerts occupied the same space; in others the same performance was repeated several times throughout the evening.  All of the performers chose music that was either of the Cold War era or musically appropriate to the atmosphere of the venue.

Attendees were welcomed by the Maple Leaf Brass Band in the parking lot and solo saxophonist Victor Herbiet in the “Blast Tunnel” entrance (see this video).

Of particular interest to this visitor were the performances by Thorwald Jørgensen on the theremin, an instrument heard sometimes in sci-fi movies but rarely seen in person.  In the cafeteria one could hear the Mark Ferguson jazz trio alternating timeslots with the Moscow String Quartet.  It seemed incongruous but perhaps fitting to have a Russian group perform within a bastion of Cold War anti-Soviet activity!  A similar but more moving juxtaposition occurred in the “Requiem Exhibit” room dedicated to Hiroshima, where Yuki Isami performed on traditional Japanese instruments.

Four stories underground, the lowest level of the Museum had a distinct chill with an air temperature about 15 degrees less than the warm day outside.  Here this visitor enjoyed Camille Churchfield on flute accompanied by Jean Desmarais on piano (actually electronic keyboard given the logistics of the venue) with splendid resonant acoustics in the “Bank of Canada Vault”.  The adjacent “Morgue/Freezer” room featured Roland Graham playing works for organ (again via electronic keyboard).

There were quite a number of other musical performances as well; too many to list.  Film presentations on small screens or TVs included “The Iron Curtain” and “Dr. Strangelove”.  And visitors were treated to ample food, beer and wine in the cafeteria!

Huge kudos to the festival staff who organized this event.  It was truly “music and beyond”:  music, film, history, an educational excursion, and a party all rolled into one!

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under 2012 Festival

Music and Beyond 2012: Introducing…

Only a few days to go until Music and Beyond 2012 starts! I am Liz, your guest blogger for the duration of this year’s festival. With even more concerts than last year, 2012’s festival has a whole host of exciting events, many of them very different to the more typical chamber music concert. Here’s a small selection.

Following the musical fireworks of the Opening Gala, Music and Dance showcases the interplay of two art forms from Baroque to contemporary. Continuing the combination theme, the ensemble Tapestry showcase the relationship between text and music in Song of Songs: Come Into My Garden. Two events feature the music of the Cold War: the Beyond the Bomb event at the Diefenbunker museum and the tie-in showing of The Iron Curtain at the Bytowne Cinema. Representing string quartets and eagerly anticipated after their 2005 Shostakovich Quartets series, the three Borodin Quartet shows feature the complete quartets of Brahms and Tchaikovsky.

For me, the five concerts featuring Vikram Seth are both exciting and intriguing. The four-part series The Rivered Earth features Seth and Alec Roth, alongside other musicians, performing Seth’s libretti (also published as a book) on the themes of ‘Songs in Time of War’, ‘Shared Ground’, ‘The Traveller’ and ‘Seven Elements’. The fifth concert returns to Seth’s 1999 novel An Equal Music and music featured therein. Menahem Pressler‘s two concerts, with the NACO Principal Winds and with the Jupiter String Quartet promise some very high quality performances.

Finally – the must-see Heavy Metal Violin event featuring returning virtuoso violinist Rachel Barton Pine with her doom band Earthen Grave. Their self-titled new release features 10 songs which will certainly please any fan of classic heavy metal with a twist!

Leave a comment

Filed under 2012 Festival