Grand reunion

Great reunion

DAY

Yannick Nézet-Séguin wanted to establish a new tradition of free outdoor concerts at the foot of Mount Royal in 2019. He then had his wings cut off by the pandemic. Three years later, the conductor and his musicians were finally back to offer a new performance under a starry sky. And the reunion, in front of nearly 50,000 people, was awe-inspiring.

“Hey, we needed to see you again. Thank you for being here! » Yannick Nézet-Séguin launched a smiling Yannick Nézet-Séguin to the tens of thousands of spectators massed at the foot of the mountain, along avenue du Parc.

Dressed casually – he wore shorts and a polo shirt black, as well as espadrilles -, Yannick Nézet-Séguin stopped his speech to the public to make… a story for his social networks! Here is a conductor of his time.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin wanted to make a good place for two female composers in his program for the evening.

With these free outdoor concerts, the Orchester Métropolitain has set itself the mission of making music accessible to everyone. And according to Nézet-Séguin, who has traveled the globe, it is only in Montreal that one can experience an evening like yesterday with an audience “of young people, of less young people, from all walks of life, who speak several languages, around the same music that speaks all languages ​​and crosses all cultures and colors. »

Of course, the chef had reserved a well-known main course at the end of the program: the Symphony No. 5 by Beethoven. But just before, he wanted to present three composers, including two women, who were probably less familiar to the majority of spectators.

Female composers

At the opening, OM performed Cosmopolitan City, by the Russian composer Airat Ichmouratov. Living in Montreal since 1998, the latter attended yesterday's concert.

The piece, of which only an extract was played, includes some beautiful epic flights. But above all, we noticed… a spoon player!

“You probably didn't think we would start a gig with a spoon! has also launched Nézet-Séguin after the piece. It was the genius of the composer Ichmouratov who offered us an opening in the image of Montreal: lively, varied, surprising, joyful, full of hope. »

The concert then left a good place for two composers: Louise Farrenc and Barbara Assiginaak. The former created her musical works in France in the 19th century.

“It’s great music, personal, full of life, said Nézet-Séguin. She even forced her husband to support her, which we did not see at the time. He edited his works. »

The two movements of Symphony no 3de Farrenc showed us a very talented composer, who deserves to be known.

Beethoven disco

The other composer, Barbara Assiginaak, is from of the Odawa First Nation. She was also present yesterday. His work, Eko-Bmijwang (As Long as the River Flows) seeks to marry nature with classical music.

“She has a genius for taking the nature that surrounds us, the one we know, that of Quebec, of Canada, and giving it meaning by using the sounds of the orchestra in a way that you wouldn't you've never heard them,” said Nézet-Séguin. 

In this very original piece, we heard certain noises reminiscent of birdsong and other sounds of nature.

“Our First Nations, we should give them the stage,” said the conductor. From the way they see the world, we can learn so much from them. 

The highlight of the evening was reserved for Beethoven. For half an hour, the Orchester Métropolitain played the Fifth Symphony with enthusiasm and without fail.

And while the public gave a loud ovation to the musicians, they had prepared a last little surprise for them: a disco version of this great classic by the German composer, called A Fifth of Beethoven, imagined by Walter Murphy. Wow!

The approximately 50,000 spectators undoubtedly thought they had just had a great time. And so are we.