Montreal’s “Dazzling” 9-piece String Band Explores New Territory
After touring extensively across North America and in China with music from their critically-acclaimed debut album Volksmobiles, Montreal’s cutting-edge 9-piece classical string band, collectif9, brings an entirely new set list to the stage featuring the music of Gustav Mahler, including original arrangements of selections from Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2. The intimate ambiance of the Matahari Loft, delicately lit by Martin Sirois, lends a mysterious air to this acoustic evening of discovery on Saturday, April 8, starting at 8pm.
In revisiting Mahler’s first two majestic symphonies, collectif9 explores themes as profound as life and death, contrasting the torment of human existence with the immaculate splendor of nature. Whilst navigating through somber reflections and wry folk melodies, the group pays homage to Mahler’s distinct brand of irony. Despite the huge scale of instrumentation in Mahler’s symphonies, the individual voices are often woven as intricately as chamber music, and proved conducive to Thibault Bertin-Maghit’s new 9-voice reductions. Also included on the set list for April 8 are transcriptions of works by Gabriel Prokofiev, founder of London’s classical club-night series Nonclassical, and Canadian composer Derek Charke’s Falling from Cloudless Skies. (Night owls should stay late for a post-concert set from Want Slash Need.)
Since its 2011 debut, collectif9 has heralded a new age in genre-bending classical performance, attracting diverse audiences in clubs, outdoor festivals, and concert halls, often with staging, and amplification – as well as charisma – more commonly seen at rock shows. Their debut recording, featuring the world premiere of Canadian composer Geof Holbrook’s Volksmobiles was called “dazzling” (The WholeNote) and “an eclectic mix of five folk-inspired tunes, each attacked with vigor and verve … [from] an ensemble that has the potential to go very far indeed.” (La Scena Musicale) Recent appearances include an extensive cross-Canada tour, debuts in New York and several other US cities, and a 3-city tour to China.
collectif9 is: Thibault Bertin-Maghit, leader and bass; John Corban, Yubin Kim, Robert Margaryan, and Liz Skinner, violins; Scott Chancey and Xavier Lepage-Brault, violas; Andrea Stewart, and Jérémie Cloutier, cellos.