This recording brings together a diverse group of compositions by Canadian composer Peter Hatch, a composer known for his interest in revitalizing the listening experience. Written for the now classic « Pierrot » ensemble, Hatch’s works on this disc are both heady and playful, profound and humourous. Hatch draws on literary greats Gertrude Stein and Italo Calvino as inspiration for a series of works that address the making of history as acts of individual decisions and motivations.

The cross-Canadian Blue Rider Ensemble is comprised of a group of highly accomplished interpreters and improvisers who provide a magical blend of timbres and musical sensibilities. Known for her rhythmic precision and championing of new music, pianist Pamela Reimer takes centre stage for the large-scale work One Says. History Is. The collaboration of Hatch and Blue Rider goes back almost twenty years and is characterized by mutual respect and admiration. This disc is a testament to the act of creation, the impulse that generates both art and, perhaps, the creation of history. As Stein said: « They make history. They are in the place of it. »

1-5. Five Memos 16:06
Blue Rider Ensemble

6. Music is a Beautiful Disease 17:46
Blue Rider Ensemble

7-9. One Says. History Is. 27:48
Pamela Reimer, piano

10. Cantabile, with grace 6:11
Blue Rider Ensemble


Blue Rider Ensemble
Liselyn Adams (flute/flûte), Paul Bendzsa (clarinet/clarinette), Jeremy Bell (violin/violon), Paul Pulford (cello/violoncelle), Pamela Reimer (piano and melodica/et mélodica), Beverley Johnston (percussion), Anne-Marie Donovan (voice and melodica/voix et mélodica).


« Five Memos from 2005 draws on essays of Italo Calvino. The memos have evocative titles such as the first, In Which an Image is Formed, with its darkly lyrical cello line gradually taken over by clarinet, flute and violin. The second, In Which Things Happen Quickly, opens with a vibraphone pattern soon joined in unison by strings and eventually giving way to piano and winds while the percussionist moves to unpitched sounds. The following movements provide contrasting moods and textures ending with a whirlwind and wayward quasi-military march led by snare drum and piccolo (fife?) and the frantic scratching of block chords on the fiddle.

Music is a beautiful disease is an extended one-movement work that starts pianissimo with occasional percussive interjections before a ghostly motif reminiscent of a European police siren, but heard at such a distance as to suggest calm rather than emergency. This haunting fragment is given a variety of instrumental treatments throughout the 18-minute work, eventually heard shared by piano and vibraphone. One Says. History Is. for solo piano was written in 2003. It begins tempestuously in moto perpetuo form alternating sustain pedal drones and staccato passages. After this prolonged fast section the music calms and we hear, in the distance, a recitation of texts from Gertrude Stein’s We Came. A History. At the end of the recitation the piano returns to its former frenzied pace over which we hear a very slow wordless melody sung calmly. The relentless repeated notes eventually give way to a pointillistic denouément for the last three minutes of the first movement. This is followed by another calm section in which the recitation comes to the forefront for several minutes until the piano returns to percussive, although more subdued, textures. The final movement of this nearly half-hour long work is an extended meditation using very few notes.

The disc ends in a beautifully calm mood with the structured improvisation mentioned above, Cantabile, with grace, based, the composer says « on a simple sketch I generated for them. » Throughout the disc the members of the Blue Rider Ensemble?—?Liselyn Adams, flute; Paul Bendza, clarinet; Jeremy Bell, violin; Paul Pulford, cello; Pamela Reimer, piano and melodica; Beverley Johnston, percussion; Anne-Marie Donovan, voice and melodica?—?are in fine form. » – David Olds, The WholeNote