This interview originally aired on April 1, 2020. We rebroadcast it on July 8, 2020.
Julie Amacher | Classical MPR
"I was looking for a title with the same spelling for French and English, so Pulsations. Pulsation marks time, infuses its rhythm in it and also evokes the heart, just like those composers I chose, who, with their unique signature, mark time. Our time."
Composers of our time — that's what Canadian violinist Angèle Dubeau's 44th recording with her all-female ensemble La Pietà is all about. She titled it Pulsations.
"Twenty years ago, I started to make a series of musical portraits of icons of contemporary music — I'm thinking of Philip Glass, of Arvo Part, of John Adams — and what makes this repertoire of minimalists so special and so successful. It's because this music brings great melodies, great moments of introspection and inner calm. And I think those moments we all need in our stressful lives today.
"In the minimalist music, the repetition captivates just like a mantra. Scientifically, it's proven that the repetition factor brings a high level of calm and concentration. If the music speaks to me and I have something personal to express, I should share it."
One of those composers is Ludovico Einaudi — you did a portrai of his music, and there are three more tracks by him on your new recording. Clearly you had more to say when it came to this composer. Could you talk about these three pieces?
"First, Einaudi is a master of the melody. He's Italian, what do you expect?
"There's one piece called Le Onde. It was originally written for piano and pre-recorded tape. I had this idea to give the electro-acoustic part to the harp. And I'm very happy because it gave a very successful final resort with this ostinato that beautifully accompanies the violin melody.
"There's also a piece called Night, and it's a gentle and soothing melody. It will be completely different from the third choice, Choros, that I put on this album because it's a powerful, extremely energetic piece."
The recording opens with a piece called Happiness Does Not Wait from an Icelandic composer. Is this piece also a song that was written by Ólafur Arnalds?
"I'm not sure. It's a good question. But what I should say is it's the first time that I've interpreted a piece written by Ólafur Arnalds. In a way, his music reminds me a little of the works of Arvo Part. It's simple music. And it's filled, of course, with melancholia. That's for sure."
I really love the piece by Scottish composer Craig Armstrong - Far from the Madding Crowd, which comes from the film, is that right?
"Yes, exactly. He wrote many, many scores — Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge and many others. I fell under the charm of the beautiful violin solo in this film. It's easy to sing with my violin."
To hear the rest of my conversation, download the extended podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.