Songs for an Acrobat
Lieder for baritone and orchestra
1995
22′

Commissioned and premiered by the National Arts Center Orchestra;
Ottawa, Canada

Libretto: Maurice Tourigny
Baritone and orchestra
2222 2200 1 perc strings
CD sold at AMAZON

Linda Bouchard’s remarkable expressionist work, Songs for an Acrobat, based on eight poems by the Quebec poet Maurice Tourigny… Bouchard’s stunningly scored homage to her friend – premiered in 1995, before his death – follows his poems through their expressions of love, agony and resignation.

Ken Winters, National Art Center Orchestra, The Globe and Mail January, 2010

Linda Bouchard’s celebrated compositions straddle the orchestral divides among 19th-century post-Romantic music, serialism, and avant-garde New Music. This compendium begins with the now-brassy, now-pastoral “Exquisite Fires,” which has a wide stylistic and instrumental range that echoes Arvo Pärt’s Arbos and even Penderecki’s 1950s-era work. The longest piece, Songs for an Acrobat, sets Maurice Toruigny’s libretto–a lengthy poetic look at physical desire, passion, love, and the threat of loss in the age of AIDS–to music that encompasses sweeping, string-ensemble lushness and horn-fronted, glowering precipices. Percussion is a frequent ingredient for Bouchard, and she uses it often as hefty punctuation–and, as on the short, magnificent Vertige as a kind of prime-mover pushing a surge-and-swirl cycle of strings, brass, and woodwinds. Bouchard’s string-and-brass studies get further development in Ressac, where string glissandi shear the air behind soft piano chromaticism and curving horn forms. Eternity closes the recording with sprays of tension and percussive brilliance.

Andrew Bartlett