Sebastien Malette (bassoon), Allison Wiebe (piano), Frank Horvat (composer, producer), Kirk Starkey (recording engineer)

Recording A Village of Landscapes

There’s no better way to end a year than making music with wonderful people! Case in point, it was a great pleasure to spend the last 2 days recording with Sébastien Malette at Port Nelson United Church in Burlington. He commissioned me to compose a suite of solo bassoon pieces called A Village of Landscapes. This was our chance to record all 13 pieces that make up the suite. Kirk Starkey provided his audio engineering expertise to the process, while Allison Wiebe brought her fabulous collaborative pianism on 5 of the pieces.

Each of the 13 pieces in the suite are based on a photo of a prominent natural landscape within Canada. Each photo was taken by award-winning nature photographer, Michelle Valberg. The fact that there are 13 pieces in the suite is significant as they represent each of the 10 provinces and 3 territories in Canada.

The word “Canada” originates from the Iroquoian word, “Kanata” meaning “village” or settlement. And despite our large size geographically, we are metaphorically a village. We are blessed in this country with such a variety of beautiful landscapes. It brings us joy and peace but it also inspires us and leaves us awestruck. It’s all these feelings that should motivate us to protect the landscapes that encompass this planet. It is such an honour and privilege to use the power of music, through Michelle’s lens, to give this beauty a life through the sound of Sébastien’s bassoon.

I composed the suite earlier this year…it was a very creatively gratifying process! I divided the pieces into 3 groups: bassoon with piano, unaccompanied and bassoon with electronics. One of the pieces even includes the contrabassoon. Sébastien is a wonderful human being and amazingly talented on the bassoon. He has impeccable technique while also being able to convey so many different emotions through his instrument. Based on what I heard in our recording session, I know this collection is going to be quite epic in the bassoon world!

Looking forward to working with Kirk early in the new year to finish off the album. We’re hoping to release the album in the Spring.

Many thanks to all the fabulous people involved in this project and to our funders who have allowed us to come together to make it happen: Ontario Arts Council and FACTOR.

Stay tuned to my social media channels, my blog posts and my e-newsletter for updates on our progress.

A Village of Landscapes Commission and Album Project

One Response to “Recording A Village of Landscapes”

  1. gunilla January 15, 2023 at 5:25 pm #

    I’m honoured to have worked with you on All That Remains: Residual Moments and am eagerly following your path as a composer and pianist!

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