Monday, January 14, 2013

Musical Portrait-David Grimes

Some selected records from the (first?) CAPAC Musical Portrait Series (ca.1977)
"A Fiftieth Anniversary Project".

Considering how many individual 7-inch records were released by the Composers,Authors and Publishers Association of Canada in numerous "Musical Portrait" series (dozens of records in each of at least 5 series in total), it is amazingly difficult to find information on this promotional endeavor, ostensibly intended to give the radio-listening public a broader knowledge of the state of contemporary Canadian music when it was created in 1977.

These "not for sale" 7-inch 33 1/3 rpm records contain music (presumably selected by the composers themselves) which was intended to showcase the variety of styles which each composer utilized.
Most of the records contain excerpts from longer works, though some also contain complete shorter works.
As each record totals only around 17 minutes, it is understandable that some composers would choose to have presented as broad a scope as possible from their entire oeuvre by selecting excerpts.
However, it does make the absolute value of each record hard to evaluate..
My conclusion is that they are useful as a sort of advertisement, as the excerpts are at least long enough to get a distinct sense of the style of the given works.

Finding the complete works to satisfy your interest may be difficult, however, as the chances are that the entire works can be found only in limited-edition CBC boxed sets dedicated to the individual composer, which are not easy to find nowadays.

In any case-I hope that you will find something of intrinsic value in these little artifacts, and maybe some new leads to follow in your search for overlooked or underexposed Canadian composers and their works.

My first offering includes works by 3 of the 4 founding members of the Canadian Electronic Ensemble (unfortunately,my copy of the record by the fourth member- Larry Lake, is missing from its sleeve. If it turns up I'll addend the post.)

 CAPAC Musical Portrait-David Grimes (QC-1289)

a1-excerpt from Increscents for violin and electronic instruments (4:50)
Morry Kernerman,violin
James Montgomery and David Grimes,synthesizers


a2-excerpt from Sotto Voce for voice and tape (3:03)
Marry Morrison-soprano

b1-excerpt from Walter for trombone and electronics (3:42)
David Grimes,trombone
James Montgomery,electronics


b2-excerpt from Legend (4:00)
Canadian Electronic Ensemble 



  1. I think the new method of doing things shall we say seems like a good idea. I might start doing this myself.

    Thanks for these musical portraits DrE. What I heard so far sounds brilliant.
    Nothing more frustrating than there being a missing record in a sleeve especially if it's in a set. I hope someday you find that Larry Lake record.

    1. You're welcome grey calx. I hope I can find that record, too.It is indeed frustrating, as the music of Lake's co-founders (in the Canadian Electronic Ensemble) is indeed Brilliant at times, and I imagine Lake's work would be comparable in scope and quality.
      I do have another 20 or so Musical Portraits and will continue to post them, starting with the youngest of the composers first.The next post should contain Bruce Mather, some of whose work I will catch live in a few days-music for pianos in sixteenths-of-tones.I hope he's going to be one of the performers.

  2. Hi, there. Great post. Also the nice piece of writing helps one connect with the music, which is welcome. Can't wait for the rest of the CAPAC series. One more thing: your rips would benefit from the use of the ClickRepair software or some other de-clicker engine.

    1. Thanks for the tip.I did try using the clickrepair function on audacity for one of the records (Jaeger,I think) but, strangely, it didn't do a thorough job.Not sure why.I try not to use it to excess as it likely reduces the dynamic range.
      What I really need is a better turntable.
      Enjoy the music.

    2. I'm a fan of Audacity, but their de-clicking function is crap. Try ClickRepair's basic settings and you will have the feeling of actually having a new turntable!

  3. thanks again.

  4. Thanks for this one and all the other great stuff you have here!
    Regards from Brazil.