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Tribute to Leduc, Borduas and Riopelle (2012)

50 minutes

Finalist, Opus Award, Album of the year 2017

Ozias Leduc, Paul-Émile Borduas, Jean Paul Riopelle. Simon Martin sets his sight on the works three great Québécer painters. Three visions of art highlighted by three contrasting ensembles: Trio de guitares contemporain, Quasar quatuor de saxophones et Quatuor Bozzini. This tribute concert delves into our heritage to see how it still resonates with us today, thus “combining creativity and remembrance” (Fernand Dumont, 1971). 

Composer’s Notes

An inspiring visit of the exhibit Leduc, Borduas et le paysage de Saint-Hilaire, presented in 2005 by the Musée des beaux-arts de Mont-Saint-Hilaire, incited a desire to compose works paying hommage to these two painters as well as to Riopelle. The three artists share a student-teacher relationship and span more than a century of pictorial history in Quebec. 

L’heure mauve crosses rhythmic pulsation with the vibration of open strings (that is without fingering), evoking an ecstatic feeling caused by light and its movement through the foliage of Mont Saint-Hilaire, which Leduc so loved. Or is it, in the distance, the church bell tower, decorated by its colours, that we hear resonate? 

Projections libérantes begins with the sound of the musicians’ breathing through the mouthpiece of their instrument. One hardly perceives the change of this steam which condenses into multiple sounds (“broken” and trembling sounds), a similar transition to the journey of “Borduas, who was the first to recognize himself in total darkness and to assume his true nakedness” (Pierre Vadeboncœur). The music gradually reveals itself throughout the work until it explodes with a crash at the very end. 

Icebergs et Soleil de minuit — Quatuor en blanc presents a series of contrasting sections. The work, however, remains bound by the continuous use of natural harmonics (strings lightly touched, rather than pressed), whose shrill timbre, pure and “white”, elicits the cold and ice references in Riopelle’s Iceberg series.

Beyond these aspects, by their suggested relationship with time, the three works beckon contemplation. The precedence of sound over the musical reflects my desire to directly portray nature.


Composition: Simon Martin

  • Trio de guitares contemporain
  • Quasar quatuor de saxophones
  • Quatuor Bozzini

Production: Projections libérantes


L’heure mauve (2009), three classical guitars
Tribute to Ozias Leduc (Mont-Saint-Hilaire, 1864 – Saint-Hyacinthe, 1955)

Projections libérantes (2007), saxophone quartet
Tribute to Paul-Émile Borduas (Mont-Saint-Hilaire, 1905 – Paris, 1960)

Icebergs et Soleil de Minuit – Quatuor en blanc (2007), string quartet
Tribute to Jean Paul Riopelle (Montréal, 1923 – L’Isle-aux-Grues, 2002)

It’s music of power, beauty and originality, worthy of its subjects.

Stuart Broomer

Une production de Projections libérantes, cette société dont Simon Martin assume la direction artistique. Il y avait vraiment un très grand raffinement dans cette musique de Simon Martin. Et raffinement, je pense que c’est le maître mot pour le programme qu’il a concocté, autant dans le support papier que dans l’agencement de cet hommage à Leduc, Borduas et Riopelle. Des œuvres qui gagnent à être réentendues.

Mario Paquet


20.05.2016 – Festival des Musiques de Création – Jonquière, Quebec
09.12.2015 – Le Vivier – Montréal, Quebec
30.07.2015 – Festival de Lanaudière – Joliette, Quebec
10.02.2015 – Maison de la culture Frontenac – Montréal, Quebec
02.03.2014 – Maison de la culture Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension – Montréal, Quebec
11.12.2013 – Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur – Montréal, Quebec
08.12.2013 – Maison de la culture du Plateau-Mont-Royal – Montréal, Quebec
25.05.2012 – Fondation Arte Musica – Montréal, Quebec

Radio Broadcast

ICI Musique, show Soirées classiques hosted by Mario Paquet – January 23 2014 at 9 p.m.


Photos by Nicolas Gouin, 2015