reviewed by R. Doull
The Redshift Music Society was founded in Vancouver in 2001 and their mission was and is “a focus on bringing the music of contemporary Canadian composers to the general public through unique musical events, mostly in public venues.” For several years they had a project they called the Vertical Orchestra, which meant spreading their musicians throughout the seven floors of the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library on Georgia Street. Not quite taking the music to the streets, but still challenging to the unsuspecting passer by, and equally challenging for the musicians. For the last six years they have done several concerts every year in different and sometimes unusual venues, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC, Celebration Hall at Mountain View Cemetery, and in November they will return to the atrium of the Library with Vertical Orchestra 2017: 21st Century Guitars as Part of the International Society of Contemporary Music’s 2017 World Music Days.
Redshift Records, founded fifteen years ago, is the recording arm of the Society. In celebration of their fifteenth anniversary they have posted Redshift XV, fifteen tracks drawn from different recordings (they have 30 CDs in print) that can be downloaded for free from their website, redshiftrecords.org. It’s a wonderful overview of some remarkable music.
Standing Wave is both a separate Vancouver based non-profit society and a six piece-performing ensemble dedicated to the creation and presentation of new works. The members are Christie Reside flutes, AK Coope clarinets, Rebecca Whitling violin, Peggy Lee cello, Allen Stiles piano, and Vern Griffiths percussion. In the 26 years since they made their first recording they have commissioned and premiered in excess of 75 new works by contemporary classical composers. There are seven compositions on their most recent recording New Wave, their fourth full length CD. Video of complete performances of two tracks; Raven Tales by Marcus Goddard, and Pots ‘n Pans Falling, is posted to their website.
Redshift has also released Raging Against The Machine by the combined sextets Ensemble Paramirabo from Montreal and the Thin Edge New Music Collective from Toronto. Both sextets have the same configuration as Standing Wave; flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion. Not surprisingly the CD opens with Steve Reich’s Double Sextet, followed by one track written expressly for Thin Edge, one for the combined sextets, and one for Ensemble Paramirabo. The closer is Louis Andriessen’s Worker’s Union, which he described as written “for any loud sounding group of instruments.” All of the music on Redshift is like a lotus flower, it opens out.