In Monday’s (11/2) Maclean’s (Canada), Paul Wells writes, “Madame Press Died Last Week at 90, by the 20th-century American composer Morton Feldman, is as gently obsessive as a piece of music can be. It’s a sweet, wistful tune that stops unfolding and repeats, dozens of times like a skipping record, on a G and an E flat. Edwin Outwater led the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony in the piece at his first concert as the orchestra’s music director, in 2007. But he followed it with another piece about obsessive repetition: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, whose ‘duh-duh-duh-duuuuuh’ opening is built on the same G and E flat. … Outwater’s adventurous intellect and sunny disposition have started to transform what was already a solid and open-minded orchestra. … ‘We asked Richard Reed Parry from Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre to write a piece,’ Outwater says. ‘And it’s all based on heartbeats.’ Whose? The musicians’. Everyone on stage will wear a stethoscope, and the pace of each musician’s heartbeat will set the tempo at which he plays his part. … ‘I mean, that’s what’s out there right now,’ Outwater said. ‘There’s all these people experimenting with sound who are in rock, or whatever, and they’re very serious about it.’ ”

Posted November 4, 2009