McGill Chamber Orchestra Pays Tribute to Its Founder

May 2, 2014.

When the McGill Chamber Orchestra next plays for the public on May 6 at the Bourgie Hall (1380 Sherbrooke St. E.), it will perform several pieces from different composers, including one near and dear to its own history. The MCO will pay tribute to their founder Alexander Brott’s work Arabesque under the direction of his son, Boris Brott. The show will also feature a work by current resident composer, Maxime Goulet, and will welcome 16-year-old pianist and cellist Anita Pari as soloist. This concert, presented by the Azrieli Foundation, will feature additional compositions by Beethoven and Mozart.

“Boris Brott has performed a lot of my pieces for over five years at his summer festival in Hamilton,” says Goulet. “He’s kind of the best ambassador of my music. Since he’s been so supportive, I thought this would be a nice way to say thank you.”

Arabesque has gone through many changes since its creation. Initially entitled Rhapsody, it was written in 1956 for cello and piano and dedicated to the composer’s wife, the renowned cellist Lotte Brott, who performed the work in collaboration with pianist Charles Reiner.

“It’s really a family orchestra,” says Goulet. “When Alexander died, Boris took over the conducting. A lot of the audience has been following this orchestra since Alexander Brott created it. They’re really still attached to him. This is a nice way to keep his memory alive.”

Goulet’s piece, Symphonic Chocolates, offers an experience that will stimulate multiple senses.

“The idea of this piece is that each of the four short movements is inspired by different flavours of chocolate,” he says.

“The first movement is caramel chocolate so it’s very lyrical and rich and smooth. The second movement is dark chocolate so it’s like a habanera tango; very dramatic and passionate. The third movement is mint chocolate, so it’s very fresh and light. The last movement is coffee chocolate so it’s like an espresso temp with a touch of Brazilian music. The audience has a box with the four chocolates so it’s like a soundtrack to go with the tasting. It enhances the concert experience.”

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