Our Key of Intensity program featured the Ondes Martenot, a French electronic instrument with an expressive, singing, haunting voice performing a range of repertoire including works by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. Marie Bernard & Estelle Lemire joined us from Montreal, and dancers from New Dialect created original choreography for the program.
Greenwood: Smear (2004)
Murail: Mach 2, 5 for 2 Ondes Martenots (1971)
Milhaud: Suite (1933)
Lalonde: Glissements, tourments, et ravissements (1988)
Vivier (orch. Rea): Pulau Dewata (1977)
The Ondes Martenot is a French instrument created in the 1920s that blends a traditional piano keyboard with timbral controls and amplification through gongs and lyres, among others. Arguably the most expressive of electronic instruments, it has also been revered for its haunting and beautiful monophony, rich with expressive subtlety akin to acoustic instruments such as the cello. And similar to contemporary classical, the instrument is experimental, defiant of convention and, ultimately, provides a beautiful payoff. It is incredibly rare to even hear an Ondes Martenot live due to the limited number of musicians who have mastered it, but Intersection has crafted a seven-piece bill devoted entirely to the instrument featuring two of the finest Ondes Martenot performers in the world: Montreal’s Estelle Lemire and Marie Bernard. Featuring works from Tristan Murail, Claude Vivier and Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead), the bill illustrates the instrument’s significance and rise in popularity in tandem with contemporary classical’s renaissance. The evening will also include an instrument demonstration with Lemire and Bernard.