– Michel Perrault: Quebec Folk Sketches – CBC Toronto Chamber Orch. Cond. Michel Perrault – CBC 1958 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
The music of Michel Perrault this weekend, performed by the CBC Toronto Chamber Orchestra, led by the composer. This comes by way of a broadcast transcription made shortly after the premier and was made available via the CBC’s Transcription service.
Michel Brunet Perrault (born 20 July 1925) is a Canadian composer, conductor, music educator, and percussionist. As a composer, his work largely pulls on Canadian folk melodies and his compositions avoid modernism in favor of classical ideas of harmony and counterpoint. He described his own work in these words, “I’m a classicist living in the wrong period. Dodecaphonism, serialism, or any other ism, are not for me. I like a folk tune and the harmony that goes with it.” Perrault has been commissioned to write works for such notable organizations as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. From the late 1970s through the 1990s he wrote a considerable amount of music for the Gerald Danovitch Saxophone Quartet. Much of his music has been published by his own publishing company, Les Publications Bonart.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, Perrault studied at McGill University under Louis Decair from 1941-1943. He then entered the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal where he was a pupil of Réal Gagnier from 1943-1944. He also studied privately with Gabriel Cusson between 1943-1946. He then studied in France at the École Normale de Musique de Paris with Nadia Boulanger, Georges Dandelot, and Arthur Honegger from 1946-1947. After returning to Canada he studied privately with Conrad Letendre.
He served as a percussionist in the Montreal Symphony Orchestra from 1944–1946 and 1949-1965. He held the same post with the Little Symphony of Montreal in 1945-1946. During the 1950s and 1960s he worked in a variety of capacities for the CBC, including serving as the conductor of the CBC Montreal Orchestra and working as a prolific composer of music for radio. In 1950 he was awarded the Radiomonde prize for his radio scores. From 1958-1962 he held the post of music director of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. In 1970 he co-founded the Institut de recherche Pantonal Inc. Among his notable pupils are Yves Lapierre and Albert Viau.
The Folk sketches are a series of ten pieces – here is what’s being played:
1. Envoyons D’L’avant
2. Plus matin Que La Lune
3. V’LaL’Bon Vent
4. J’Ai Cueilli La Belle Rose
5. Je Le Mene Bien Mon Devidoi
6. Isabeau S’Y Promene
7. J’Ai Tant Danse
8. Anne De Bretagne
9. Le Marchand De Velours Et Frere Jacques
10. J’Etends Le Moulin
Not a household name in the U.S., but a prolific and widely respected composer in his native Canada. Well worth pressing the Play button and finding out.