by Forestare


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Canadian guitar ensemble Forestare takes its name from a Latin verb meaning "to create a forest," and founder Alexandre Éthier sees a kind of continuum between most of the music it performs -- music that is inspired by or somehow honors nature -- and the trees from which the instruments are made. Therefore, there is an extracurricular agenda, if you will, to the group's programming. Here it is most overtly stated in the two songs by Québécois singer/songwriter/filmmaker Richard Desjardins. Both songs decry the destruction of forests for commercial interests, particularly American interests. But leaving the environmental activism and issues aside, the music (mostly new) on this recording sets it apart from other guitar discs. The sonority of 13 or so guitars, plus double bass once in a while to round out the lower end and add soaring lyricism, really isn't like anything else, especially when the mix of works explores all manner of playing techniques, mood, and character. Desjardins' songs have, at times, a tango-like rhythm that seems made for the guitar arrangements. "Selisir," by Francis Marcoux, turns the ensemble into a gamelan by "preparing" the instruments with odds and ends like bobby pins and Post-Its. Forestare's performance of Steve Reich's own version of "Electric Counterpoint for guitar ensemble" doesn't have quite the same smoothness of fades as the original, but the middle movement takes on a mystical aura with the greater resonance of the acoustic instruments. Pascal Sasseville Quoquochi's "Chaman" is both driving and spiritual, as ritualistic as its name suggests, a modern work with an ancient wisdom found within its modal harmonies. Similarly picturesque are François Gauthier's "cartoon Western" entitled "Equus," in which the guitars double as percussion, and Denis Gougeon's "Une Petite Musique de nuit d'été," which suggests the busyness of insects in a meadow. Leo Brouwer, a composer who regularly writes for guitar ensemble, is represented by "Acerca del cielo, el air y la sonrisa" (The Sky, the Air, and a Smile). The way the individual members of Forestare work together in the second half of this work, an "Echo Fantasia," is remarkable for its precision and consistency as notes fly between players. The recording's sound is excellently balanced with a very naturalistic character. Just what's wanted for a disc by a group that believes in respecting Mother Earth.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/08/2007
Label: Atma Classique
UPC: 0722056255028
catalogNumber: 22550


  1. Chaman, for guitar ensemble
  2. La Maison est ouverte, song
  3. Une Petite Musique de nuit d'été, for guitar ensemble
  4. Les Yankees, song
  5. Selisir, for guitar ensemble
  6. Electric Counterpoint, for electric guitar, bass guitar & tape
  7. Equus, for guitar ensemble
  8. Acerca Del Cielo, el Ayre y la Sonrisa

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