2009-2010 YOUTH CONCERTS
Following his travels with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal in the concerts
A Trip Around the World, presented in 2007, and Adventure at Sea, performed in 2008,
Octavio returns with his newest adventure, Escape into Space!
Aboard an extraordinary “music-fuelled” spacecraft, Octavio blasts into orbit, where he
will be accompanied by his faithful travelling companion, conductor Jean-François Rivest,
inspired by his mentor, astrophysicist Hubert Reeves, and guided back to earth by his
friend, astronaut Julie Payette. Along the way, he has some astonishing “encounters of the
third kind” on a few of the planets he visits. Buckle up for an exhilarating ride!
THE YOUTH CONCERTS ARE PRESENTED BY:
THE CHILDREN’S CORNER SERIES IS PRESENTED BY:
Proud to support music education at the OSM
Conductor at the controls
Jean-François Rivest was the
OSM’s conductor in residence
from 2006 to 2009, during which
time he had three duties: to assist
Kent Nagano during rehearsals,
to help develop the Orchestra’s
youth programming, and to pro-
mote contemporary music—with
a focus on Canadian music in par-
ticular—while forging strong ties
with the Montreal community.
Jean-François believes that the
imagination plays an important
role in music: “A work of music
is a complete entity that has its
own life, history, elements, molecules, and universe.” The works
on the program of Escape into Space! were all chosen because they are
linked to emotions and can be thought of as psychological portraits
that could accompany Octavio on his extraordinary adventure through
Some of the pieces make obvious reference to the planets themselves,
such as “Mars” from Holst’s The Planets, or Mozart’s “Jupiter”
Symphony, an animated and spirited piece, full of “positive energy and
Table of contents pure joy,” according to Jean-François. Others were included in the pro-
gram because they evoke certain emotions, like Shostakovich’s Tenth
THE CREW .................................................................................................2 Symphony, for example, which conveys an impression of impending
JEAN-FRANÇOIS RIVEST, danger. “It’s unbelievable how, with just a few notes, music can
CONDUCTOR AT THE CONTROLS ...............................................2
transport us elsewhere!”
MARIE-LOU DION, SCRIPTWRITER AND DIRECTOR ..............3
Jean-François has an unbridled curiosity and loves to deconstruct
MAXIME GAUDETTE, ALIAS OCTAVIO .....................................3 musical scores to discover new dimensions within them. “A musical
THE NATIONAL CIRCUS SCHOOL ...............................................3 work is a window onto the world. What sets human beings apart from
THE CANADIAN SPACE AGENCY................................................3 other animals is curiosity. It is what has spurred our evolution ever since
we lived in caves!” He admits to having been a science fiction fanatic
JULIE PAYETTE, ASTRONAUT ................................................. 4-5
since he can remember, and, for many years, an avid reader of Scientific
HUBERT REEVES, ASTROPHYSICIST .........................................5
American and various works on cosmology. He says he is continually
JOHN ESTACIO, CANADIAN COMPOSER ..................................6 awestruck by the beauty of nature and the universe. “They are the back-
SHOSTAKOVICH .......................................................................................7 drop that helps us put things into perspective. It gives me immense
MUSICAL SIGNATURE .............................................................................8 pleasure to discover the wealth of beauty that resides in the smallest
details.” From the infinitely minute to the infinitely vast, “that is how
“MARS” FROM THE PLANETS .............................................................. 9
music is constructed. We can compare musical themes or motifs to mo-
lecules and atoms.” He illustrates this point using the two-note motif
THE MOON ...............................................................................................12 from the first movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which in-
QUIZ - WHO WANTS TO BE A MUSICAL MILLIONAIRE? ...............14 fuses the entire work with energy and tension, in the same way as does
TEACHER’S PAGE...................................................................................15 the famous G-G-G-E flat, da-da-da-dum, opening of his Fifth Symphony.
“We need energy—a motor—to move. The rhythmic energy in music
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ..............................................................16
provides us with just that sort of drive!”
2 Escape into Space! concert guide
Marie-Lou Dion Maxim Gaudette
Scriptwriter and director alias Octavio
After her successful production Maxim Gaudette is thrilled to take
A Trip Around the World, which on the role of Octavio, a modern-
garnered the “Best Production day space ranger. Since graduating
for Young Audiences” Prix Opus from the Conservatoire d’art drama-
in 2007, and Adventure at Sea, pre- tique de Montréal in 1997, Maxim
sented in 2008, Marie-Lou Dion has acted in theatre, film, and
returns with a brand new show for television. He played Dartagnan—
young audiences, Octavio’s third another adventurer—in Les trois
adventure, Escape into Space!, mousquetaires, by Fernand Rainville,
which she wrote and also directs. for which he was nominated for a
This is her fifth script and the sixth “Best Actor” Masque in 2002 by the
production she has directed for Association des professionnels des
the OSM. arts de la scène du Québec (APASQ).
An actress who gained public recognition principally through her role He has appeared on stage in a number of Montreal theatres, under the dir-
as Antoinette in Le Temps d’une Paix, Marie-Lou has devoted herself to ection of such acclaimed directors as Claude Poissant, Denise Filiatrault, Yves
directing, scriptwriting, and coaching actors for the last fifteen years. Desgagnés, Martin Faucher, Serge Denoncourt, Alice Ronfart, Normand
Before training in drama at the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Chouinard, and René Richard Cyr.
Montréal, she studied music at the École de Musique de l’Université He starred in the television production of L'Ombre de l'épervier and
Laval, which paved the way naturally to her present career in the field has also appeared in Fortier, Grande Ourse, and Virginie. Maxim was
of classical music. In addition to her collaborations with the OSM, part of the cast of the hit TV series Lance et compte, in the episodes
she has written and directed several productions with the Orchestre La reconquête, La revanche, and Le grand duel. Since 2008, audiences
Métropolitain, trained singers for solo recitals, and directed concerts for have watched him in a new role, in L’Auberge du chien noir, on Radio-
the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, where she has also worked as Canada. In 2010, he will appear in the movie Incendies, directed by Denis
an acting coach since 2002. Villeneuve, based on a play by Wadji Mouawad.
The National Circus School The Canadian
The only school to provide advanced circus Space Agency
arts training in North America, the National
Established in 1989, the Canadian Space
Circus School is an institution for higher
Agency (CSA) coordinates all civil space-
education that also offers academic subjects
related policies and programs on behalf of
at the secondary and college levels. Its primary mission is to prepare
the Government of Canada. The CSA directs
circus artists. It is intended for young people between 9 and 17 years
its resources and activities through four key
of age who wish to undertake professional training either while pur-
areas: earth observation, space exploration and science, satellite
suing their primary or secondary education or within a full-time arts
communications, and space awareness and learning. By lever-
and studies high school program. Andréanne Nadeau (arial hoop) and
aging international cooperation, the CSA generates world-class
Jonathan Morell (contortion and balancing) are graduates of the three-
scientific research and industrial development for the benefit of
year higher education collegial studies program that leads directly to a
The OSM wishes to acknowledge the special collaboration of the
Canadian Space Agency and astronaut Julie Payette in the mak-
ing of the concert Escape into Space!
Ms. Payette graciously allowed us to film her for certain scenes
that will be projected on a giant screen during the concert, and
she also answered a few questions that will let our young audi-
ences discover her great love of music. In addition, the CSA grant-
ed the OSM access to a multitude of images of outer space and
of Ms. Payette’s most recent mission, provided by NASA, which
will be projected during the performance and which we have also
used in the pages of our teacher’s guide.
Escape into Space! concert guide 3
Astronaut and musician
Before joining the Canadian Space Program, Julie Payette conducted
research in computer systems, natural language processing, and auto-
matic speech recognition. In June 1992, the Canadian Space Agency
(CSA) selected her from among 5,330 applicants to become one of four
new Canadian astronauts. She joined NASA’s Astronaut Corps in 1996,
and was assigned to work on technical issues in robotics and the ro-
botic arms used in space. Julie was also chief astronaut for the CSA from
A veteran of two space flights, Julie Payette has logged over 611 hours
in space. From July 15 to 31, 2009, she served as the flight engineer on
the crew of STS-127 aboard the space shuttle Endeavour. During this
16-day mission, the astronauts travelled to the International Space
Station, performed five spacewalks, and made 248 orbits of the Earth,
travelling 10,537,748 million miles in 15 days, 16 hours, 44 minutes, and
Julie is fluent in French and English, and can converse in Spanish, Italian,
3 Who are your favourite composers? Are there any works in
this program that you particularly enjoy?
That’s a hard question to answer, because I enjoy so many different
Russian, and German. She plays the piano and the flute, and loves to styles of music and have many favourite composers.
sing. She was delighted to answer a few questions on the subject of her
As far as classical music is concerned, I’m a big fan of the baroque pe-
riod, with a preference for the early music of Handel, Bach, Marcello,
1 You’ve had the chance to travel into space more than once. Was it
as exciting each time?
We prepare for years to earn the privilege of working in space. Since
Pergolesi, and Purcell. I have a weakness for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,
whose music is so beautiful. A little closer to our era, there’s Chopin,
Berlioz, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Prokofiev, Copland, Gershwin,
mankind began to explore outer space—the Russians made the first
spaceflight in 1961—only about 500 people have travelled to space. It At home, we listen to a variety of genres, from children’s music (Barry
is a unique, and still highly uncommon, experience. Reaching that goal Gray, Henriette Major), to blues, rock, and pop. We love to put on music
requires a lot of hard work and years of training, but it’s all worth it, we can dance to, like rock ‘n’ roll, French singers like Piaf and Asnavour,
especially to have the chance to observe our magnificent planet from Quebec groups like Beau Dommage and Mes Aïeux, and alternative
high above. music like Quidam and Secret Gardens.
2 What role does music play
in your life?
A huge role! At home, music is part of our daily life:
This program is really interesting, with a rich mix of styles and some
major works. The first movement of Brahms’ First Symphony is one
of my favourite pieces. And to listen to John Williams’ Star
Wars theme played by a live symphony orchestra is really
we sing, we play instruments, we play the tambour- impressive!
ine, we go to concerts, and we listen to all kinds of
music! We have two pianos (including a grand What about music on a space flight? Does
piano), a guitar, several flutes, a harmonica, a everyone listen on their own MP3 player
xylophone, percussion instruments, four MP3 or is music piped in through speakers in the
players, a huge collection of recordings, and shuttle for all to enjoy? Do the astronauts all
a lot of stereo equipment. I played in or- share the same musical tastes?
chestras and sang in choirs for a long Each astronaut has their own MP3 player with
time, and, as soon as I have a little their personal playlist. But the shuttle is
more time, I hope to take up choral outfitted with small speakers, so when we
singing again. have some free time—during supper,
for example—we’ll put on something
everyone can listen to. On board the
International Space Station, you’ve got
a mix of Russian, American, Japanese,
Canadian, and European astronauts,
so it’s not unusual to hear music
with lyrics in languages from their
4 Escape into Space! concert guide
countries, as well as many others, too. Everyone shares their music, and,
Did you know that some OSM recordings have already travelled
in this way, we often make wonderful discoveries that we may other-
into space? The STS-96 mission, on board the space shuttle
wise never have known. One of my greatest pleasures in space was, at
Discovery, took with them a CD of the Orchestra’s recording of
the end of a full day, to put on my headphones, let myself float towards
Holst’s The Planets, where it completed 153 orbits of the Earth,
a window, and gaze out at the Earth below. It was like a lullaby before
travelling more than 6 million kilometres in 10 days, from May 27
I went to sleep!
to June 6, 1999.
Also, each morning in space, as a wake-up call, ground operations at
For her last mission, Julie Payette tucked the
mission control would broadcast a special piece of music into the space
CD Ideals of the French Revolution, which con-
shuttle cabin. Each piece was chosen for one of the astronauts. During
tains, notably, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony,
my last space mission in July 2009, over the course of 16 days, I had two
into her luggage. She also brought along a
wake-up calls dedicated to me: the first was the theme from a 1960s
score of the work that had been used in per-
children’s TV series called Thunderbirds, and the second was the so-
formance by almost all of the OSM’s music
prano duet “De torrente in via bibet” from Dixit Dominus, by G.F. Handel,
directors since the Orchestra was founded.
one of the most exquisite baroque melodies in the world!
This score was sealed in a capsule along with
other objects, but will soon return to the
OSM, framed and signed by Julie Payette.
Hubert Reeves In a letter he posted on his website on March 23, 2009, he said: “The
story of mankind is in perpetual evolution, and humanity changes in
Astrophysicist and music lover
step with the latest scientific discoveries and technological advance-
Hubert Reeves is a Canadian astro- ments. We are thus different from our ancestors, but I recognize that
physicist who was born in 1932 in we share something in common: our attraction for creative activity.
Montreal, Quebec. He served as When I first come into contact with an artistic work, I don’t know
a scientific consultant for NASA’s if I will assimilate it into my internal catalogue. That may come in
PHOTO: LOUIS-ÉTIENNE DORÉ
Institute for Space Studies in New time. The profound harmony I feel for any given work, be it liter-
York, was the director of research of ary, pictorial, architectural, or musical, becomes a part of me. And
the Centre national de la recherche each time I read, or see, or hear that same work, the same vibrations
scientifique in Paris, worked for the resonate within me once more.
Service d’astrophysique de Saclay,
and was a professor in the physics department of the Université We are intelligent beings, but with art, it is our senses that dominate,
de Montréal. He taught cosmology at several universities, has pub- and this was true even in the most ancient of human societies. This
lished a number of books, including Poussière d’étoiles, Patience dans legacy, passed down through the ages, has always underpinned my
l’azur, and, most recently, Petite histoire de la matière et de l’univers. In solidarity with human beings, without regard for distances in time
addition, he is the president of France’s Ligue ROC, whose mission or space.”
is the preservation of wildlife, and is a much sought-after speaker.
Hubert Reeves has been listening to classical music since childhood. The OSM extends its heartfelt thanks to Hubert Reeves for his
He counts among his close friends the Quebec composer Gilles generous participation in the preparations for Escape into Space!,
Tremblay, who will be celebrated across Canada in 2009-2010 as part and especially for taking part in the filmed sequences that will be
of the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec’s Tribute Series. shown during the concert.
One of the pieces featured on the program, Beethoven’s Another well-known scientist was
“Pastoral” Symphony, was specially chosen by Mr. Reeves. “I’ve also an ardent music lover: Albert
loved this work since I was a child,” he says. I’ve heard it dozens Einstein. An accomplished violin-
of times, and I could go on listening to it indefinitely. Every time ist, he played his instrument every
I listen to it, right from the very first bars, I fall under its magic; day. He maintained that it freed his
it never fails to entrance me. For me, this piece is the perfect spirit and allowed him to concentrate
example of the hypnotic spell music can cast over a person; it on the problems of physics he was
is an image of perfect joy. This is the only way I can describe it; working on. He enjoyed playing with
the rest is beyond words. I would like everyone to hear this work friends, among them some rather
and to let themselves be transported by its perfect accents. For notable people, including Queen
those who don’t know it, I want to say that a source of great joy Elizabeth of Belgium.
awaits them, and I invite them to go and drink deeply from it.”
Escape into Space! concert guide 5
Contrary to popular belief, the aurora borealis are not caused The Earth is like a giant magnet that produces a magnetic field.
by sunlight reflecting off polar glaciers into the sky, but are the The region surrounding the Earth controlled by this magnetic
result of solar winds from the sun interacting with gases in the field is called the magnetosphere. It protects the Earth by
Earth’s atmosphere. Solar explosions cause particles to be thrust deflecting solar winds and preventing them from disturbing the
into space, which is what causes solar winds. These blow to- Earth’s atmosphere. The electrically charged particles emitted
wards Earth at a velocity of approximately 250 to 300 kilometres by the sun after a solar explosion are diverted around the mag-
a second, but they can reach up to 700 kilometres a second, netosphere, but are attracted to both of the Earth’s poles: the
often resulting in the aurora borealis. North Pole and the South Pole. That is what produces the aurora
borealis, or northern lights, in the northern hemisphere, and the
aurora australis, or southern lights, in the southern hemisphere.
Psst! If ever you visit Quebec City, go down to the Old
Port at dusk and see the grain silos lit up with giant
projections of the aurora borealis. It’s the latest project by Robert Lepage.
Borealis, by John Estacio Listen
John Estacio is a Canadian composer who was born in 1966, in Newmarket, Ontario. He Borealis is a work in two contrasting move-
always wanted to be a composer. “I always enjoyed music and creating my own music, ments. During the concert, however, you
but I never thought I could make a living doing that! But it was the best decision I could will only hear excerpts from the first move-
have made. I can’t imagine what else I might have done, except maybe become a chef.” ment, which sets the stage by creating the
Composition is part of his daily routine, and he sits down at the piano to write ethereal atmosphere of the play of lights. “I
every morning. “Composing never comes to you in a flash of inspiration… or rarely. like to think that the lights are performing a
You have to create, produce. The best way to get the creative juices flowing is to sit gentle dance, one that’s cheerful and com-
down and work at it every day, as if you were exercising a muscle.” forting at the same time. Each of us has their
The particular phenomenon that is the aurora borealis, or northern lights, was the in- own impressions about the northern lights,
spiration for his work Borealis, premiered by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 1997. but my goal was to share with everyone the
“I love studying space and the stars,” the composer explained. feelings that came to me as I watched them
“It’s completely mind-boggling to look up at the night sky and for the very first time.”
think that what we are seeing has taken thousands of years The movement opens with the strings play-
to reach us. When we look at the sky, we are looking at the ing a major chord (A flat - C - E flat). The
past.” Before moving to Edmonton, I had never seen the strings slide, bending the notes freely, until
aurora borealis. “One crisp October evening, I noticed they arrive at another chord (G - B - D). This
these majestic curtains of swirling green light in the musical device seeks to mirror the intrinsic
sky. I had no idea what I was seeing until a friend con- fluid motion of the lights and becomes a re-
firmed that it was indeed the northern curring theme, which, if you listen carefully,
lights. Well, how could I not be in- you will hear throughout the movement.
spired to write a piece of music?”
Choose an excerpt from Borealis that you
particularly like. Then, either by yourself
or working as a team, create a PowerPoint
presentation using images of the northern
lights that you find on the Internet.
6 Escape into Space! concert guide
Shostakovich uses all the instrument families in the
second movement of the Tenth Symphony. Follow them
• Opening: the strings play alone.
• 6 secs.: do you hear the slightly nasal sound of the
• 17 secs.: the oboe is joined by the other woodwinds.
• 23 secs.: listen for the military sounding snare drum.
• 27 secs.: the cellos and double basses reprise the
main theme. They are sustained by the brass
in the low register.
• 48 secs.: the trumpets make a triumphant entrance.
Do you hear the rattling of the xylophones
“ Let them listen and guess for themselves,” is how Shostakovich
in the background?
responded to a friend who asked him about the meaning behind his
Tenth Symphony. In public, however, he would say that he wanted • 1 min. 11: the woodwinds emerge slightly from the
the symphony to “portray human emotions and passions.” One brass, and we can discern the very high-
thing is certain: the circumstances surrounding the composition of pitched piccolo.
this symphony were extraordinary. • From 1 min. 20: Shostakovich alludes to horror and
March 5, 1953 will remain indelibly etched in the memories of his- violence through a succession of tight
torians: it was the day that Joseph Stalin, one of the cruelest dicta- chromatic runs in the strings as well as a
tors of the twentieth century, died. He had transformed the USSR rhythmic acceleration.
(the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) into a totalitarian regime, • 1 min. 35: the woodwinds come to the forefront once
of which one of the most striking traits was the cult of personality again.
he created around himself. His was a long reign of terror that saw
• 1 min. 40: one can imagine the trombones laughing
roughly fifteen ethnic minorities deported and millions of other
gruffly in the low register while the
people either executed or imprisoned in Gulag labour camps. A
woodwinds race along in the high
few months after Stalin’s death, freed of the artistic and intellectual
restraints imposed on him during the dictator’s rule, Shostakovich
emerged to pen his monumental Tenth Symphony. • 2 min. 09: the trumpets come centre stage again.
The second movement, Allegro (fast), is short but ferocious, and sur- • 2 min. 25: the percussion instruments take the
prises in both its brevity and the violence of its musical language. In spotlight.
his book of memoirs, Testimony, the composer explains that it was, • 2 min. 33: Shostakovich treats the full brass section
in reality, a portrait of Stalin. Some musicologists have advanced as one gigantic fanfare, with all the other
that the one-note crescendos that permeate this movement rep- instruments maintaining their motif of two
resent a quirk of language of Stalin’s or an oddity of his personality eighth notes followed by a quarter note.
(for example, at around 20 seconds, you can hear two).
• 3 min. 20: the strings resume their furious race,
pianissimo, and the brass fall silent.
• 3 min. 38: led by the flutes, the woodwinds return
with their theme.
• 3 min. 47: the piccolos reappear.
• 3 min. 50: followed closely by the snare drum.
• 3 min. 53: the brass return in full force, and
the movement ends in a tremendous
Escape into Space! concert guide 7
Some composers affixed their own name or that of a friend onto the
theme of a particular work. Johann Sebastian Bach was perhaps the
first to use the four letters of his name B-A-C-H (B flat - A - C - B natural,
equivalent to the German nomenclature) to create the “Bach mo-
tif,” a unique and personal signature he used in some of his works.
Shostakovich also integrated his musical signature into the first, third,
and fourth movements of his Tenth Symphony—the letters D (for Dmitri)
and S-C-H (the three first letters of his last name, according to the
Russian spelling), which results in the notes D - B flat (S) - C - B natural (H).
In the third movement, as well, he incorporated the signature of pianist
and composer Elmira Nazirova, with whom he was in love.
Another example of a composer who created a personalized musical
motif to use in his work was Robert Schumann. He painted a musical
portrait of the composers Chopin and Paganini in Carnaval, a piece
based on four notes of his last name. In the same work, he also traced
the portrait of Clara, who would become his wife soon after, and
Ernestine, a former sweetheart. He subtly adapted their first names as
Chiarina and Estrella.
Turn your own name into music!
Using the table below, find the letters in your or someone else’s name, and write down the equivalent notes on music paper. You
can vary the order of the letters, using either your first name or your last name. Not all the letters of the alphabet are listed, so
just leave out those that don’t appear. Don’t forget to vary the rhythms to make your motif interesting.
B B flat
G G Name:
H B natural
L C sharp
M or N F sharp
O or P A flat
S E flat
X Choose a note
When you have all finished doing this, form a circle with your class- Then, your teacher could lead you in a game of call and response of
mates and each play the sounds of your name. Play each motif in two motifs, by calling out two names, such as, say, Xavier and Nathalie.
roughly the same tempo, either on a recorder, an Orff instrument, Xavier would play the notes of his name in a rhythm he chooses, and
an electronic keyboard, or any other instrument you have in your Nathalie would play hers in response. You can also try overlaying the
classroom. two by playing them both at the same time.
8 Escape into Space! concert guide
“Mars,” excerpt from The Planets,
The Planets is the best-known work by the English composer Gustav Here, we have an ostinato rhythm played by the timpani and the violins,
Holst. The first movement, “Mars,” was written in 1914, just before the which strike the strings with the wood of their bows rather than pulling
outbreak of World War I. Upon its completion, Holst put away the scores, the hair across the strings.
believing that a work of such scope, with its massive orchestral require-
• The first theme is introduced by the
ment, would never be mounted in wartime. But, in September 1918, a
bassoons and the horns at 10 seconds.
semi-private performance of the work was nonetheless given in Queen’s
Hall, London. The first public performance took place not long after and • Following a crescendo and an
was extremely well received; its popularity has continued to this day. accelerando by the entire orchestra,
the second theme is introduced
With its dissonance and menacing beat, “Mars” is a chaotic tableau. In
by the trombones and the horns at
just a few fleeting seconds, the movement conjures an ominous image
1 min. 29 sec.
of war. It begins with an ostinato, meaning a persistently repeated
musical rhythmic pattern, tune, or melody.
How do the planets Did you know that the ancient Greeks
get their names? believed that the distances between celestial
bodies could be calculated according to a theory
In the West, all of the eight planets in our solar system, with known as the “harmony of the spheres”? The
the exception of Earth, have names derived from Roman movement of these heavenly bodies was thought
mythology. Mercury was the messenger of the gods as to relate to musical proportions, because the
well as the protector of merchants, doctors, and thieves. distances between the planets—at that time, the
The planet may have received this name because of the way moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter,
it quickly appears and disappears from our view in the sky. and Saturn—corresponded to musical intervals.
Venus was the goddess of beauty and love, and Mars, the Two groups worked alongside the philosopher
god of war and of battle. Mars was also the god of youth Pythagoras (the one responsible for the theorem)
and the spring, because the end of the winter marked the developing this concept: mathematicians (from
beginning of war campaigns. In fact, Mars was originally the the Greek word mathematikoi meaning “learners”)
first month of the year according to the Roman calendar. and acousmaticians (from the Greek word akous-
Jupiter was regarded as the father and king of the gods matikoi, meaning “listeners”). They concerned
and men. The symbols associated with him are the light- themselves with both the scientific (astronomy,
ning bolt and an eagle. He is the son of Saturn, the god of proportions, musicology) and the metaphysical
time, as well as the brother of Neptune, the god of the seas (the notion of Being, harmony). The broad ac-
and oceans, and of Pluto, the god of the underworld. (Pluto ceptance of this representation of the universe,
is a celestial body that, until recently, was considered as the rooted in the traditions of Antiquity, would remain
ninth planet in our solar system.) Uranus was the god of unchallenged until the Middle Ages.
Escape into Space! concert guide 9
Timpanist for a day Build your own
We’d like to invite you to sit in with the OSM’S percussion section, specifically as
a timpanist. The most remarkable feature of timpani drums is that they can be
tuned to produce different pitches, by increasing or de-
creasing the tension of the skin. The timpani were first Percussion instruments were undoubtedly the first musi-
used as military drums, but joined the ranks of the or- cal instruments. They produce sound by being struck or
chestra in the 17th century. scratched. Using recycled materials (yogurt containers, tin
cans, soft drink cans, bottles, etc.), why not try to build an
Timpani consist of a skin stretched over a large copper
original instrument? You could try stretching a piece of
bowl, which the timpanist strikes with a pair of drumsticks,
material over a container (to make a kind of drum), fill a
called mallets. Most mallets are made of wood, but there
can with rice and seal it (like a pair of maracas), and strike
are some that are made out of bamboo or aluminum.
everyday objects with a stick to explore the different
The ends, or heads, are covered with felt, flannel,
sounds they produce. Let your imagination and your ears
wood, cork, sponge, or other materials, each of which pro-
guide your experiment!
duces a slightly different sound. The timpanist can also
mute the sound of the timpani by placing a piece of felt on the skin. If a short note The percussion instruments are divided into three main
is desired, the vibration of the membrane can be stopped by placing the pads of families:
the fingers on the drumhead. To play a very long note, the timpanist executes a We strike with sticks or with our hands the tightly stretched
roll, or tremolo, by rapidly striking the drum to create a sustained sound. membrane of a membranophone, causing the mem-
You probably don’t have timpani drums in your class, so you can use any other brane to vibrate and produce a sound. Timpani, snare
drum that’s available, a tambourine, or you could even make your own percussion drums, and bass drums belong to this family.
instrument. Practice playing this rhythm: triplet, quarter The idiophone is an instrument that produces sound
note, quarter note, two eighth notes, quarter note, ( ) primarily by way of the instrument vibrating itself when
and be sure to keep your beat steady. Start by mastering the pattern on your own, struck, such as cymbals, wooden sticks, castanets, or rain
then get a small group to play together, making sure you are all playing the same sticks.
rhythm. After a few rehearsals, you should be able to take your place in the per-
Certain string instruments fall into the percussion family
cussion section of the OSM, by playing along with the recording. Listen carefully
because their strings are struck, like the piano, for ex-
to the passage with the timpani and the violins to make sure you are “following”
ample. The piano is a chordophone.
In which category does your instrument belong?
Reading a music score
Do you think it’s difficult to read a score? It’s not as hard as you might • Now, read the first line and reproduces the rhythms indicated. Each
imagine. To help you understand how it works, get together with three of you does the same for their own line. Once each person has mas-
friends and take a look at the different elements of this score. You don’t tered their own line, play all your rhythms together. Be sure to keep
need an instrument. the same beat or you won’t finish together!
• Each of you will play one line of music, so the first thing to do is de-
A whole note ( ) is worth 4 beats.
cide who is going to play each line.
A dotted half note ( ) is worth 3 beats.
• For the first line, tap out the rhythms by clapping your hands; snap
A half note ( ) is worth 2 beats.
your fingers for the second; slap your thighs for the third; and stamp
A quarter note ( ) is worth 1 beat.
An eighth note ( ) is worth ½ beat.
your feet for the fourth.
10 Escape into Space! concert guide
Write your own Could you conduct an orchestra
score! like Jean-François Rivest?
The technique of conducting, that is, the conductor’s bodily motions, follows certain gen-
In small groups, using simple symbols, invent a eral conventions. The conductor holds the baton in his right arm, with which he keeps the
short piece based on one of the planets in our tempo and indicates the dynamic levels (going from very soft to very loud) with the size of his
solar system. Try to include at least three dif- gestures. The left arm is used to remind musicians of their entrances. In this way, both arms
ferent sound events. For example, you might : express different things and only rarely make the same gesture.
• Ask one of the musicians in your group to
We can’t, of course, send 100 OSM musicians to your school, so you can practice your con-
“play” a solo by clapping their hands to a
ducting skills with the recording of the Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner. The piece is in triple
rhythm for five seconds;
time, so, for each bar, you have to draw a triangle in the air with your right hand like this: first
• Indicate at one point that everyone has beat down, second beat to the right, third beat up. You can use a pencil as a baton, or just
to whisper a certain word for a number of your hand. At the beginning, you can figure out where to start by listening to when the violins
beats; give an accent: that will be the first beat. Once you’re comfortable with being able to keep the
• Have two performers play a tambourine; rhythm (which won’t change), you can indicate certain entrances with your left hand. For ex-
ample, around the 20th second, you should get ready to invite the trumpets to play. Around
• Use sounds with precise beat values or
the 50th second, they will be joined by other brass. Don’t forget: if the musicians are playing
not, meaning write a precise rhythm (as in
softly, make the triangle you beat smaller; if the passages are very loud, do the opposite, make
“Mars”) or let the performer improvise for a
the triangle bigger.
period of time
Try a variety of things to see what works best. Watch Kent Nagano conducting a movement of Beethoven’s Third Symphony here:
Play with different sounds and tones, such as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9__iR9ST8bk
high-pitched instruments (triangle) or those
with lower pitches (a large tam-tam). The idea
is to create the atmosphere and mood that
you associate with your planet.
Escape into Space! concert guide 11
Clair de lune
As a child, Claude Debussy wanted to be a painter. While visiting his
godfather, Achille Arosa, an art broker and collector, he discovered
Camille Corot, Eugène Delacroix, Gustave Courbet, Honoré Daumier,
William Turner, and all the impressionist painters, including Claude
Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. These artists tried to capture the
overall effect of a landscape or of people by reproducing the vibra-
tions of colour or the transient effects of sunlight and shadow in
short brush strokes, to create an “impression” rather than a realistic
rendition of their subjects. Debussy hoped to translate elements of
this new technique in his music, seeking to recreate images, atmos-
pheres, and the multiple sounds of nature, through a writing that
was less linear, to present a series of impressions.
Claude Monet, Impression soleil levant
The moon as creative inspiration
The moon has always invited reverie. The play of light and shadow forming shapes on its sur-
face has been interpreted in various ways, depending on the culture and the stirring of imagi-
nation. Some people gaze up at the moon and see a rabbit, others, a buffalo or the face of a
man. Early astronomers thought that the dark areas (the plains) were great seas.
The moon figures largely in mythology and folk beliefs. Some consider it as a deity, while others
believe it causes periodic insanity, giving humans the power to change into their bestial form,
such as a werewolf, during a full moon.
The moon has inspired lovers, but also artists—fiction writers, poets, designers, filmmakers,
and composers. Here are some examples:
• Jules Verne wrote two books about the moon: De la terre à la lune (From the Earth to the Moon)
and Autour de la lune (Around the Moon).
• The moon was the muse of many a poet, including J.R.R. Tolkien, who wrote The Man in the
Moon Came Down Too Soon, and Robert Louis Stevenson, who penned The Moon.
• You might know Hergé, who sent his fearless adventurer, Tintin, on a couple of missions, in
Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon.
• As early as 1902, filmmakers looked to the moon for inspiration. Méliès created the film Le
Voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon), and, more recently, Stanley Kubrick made 2001: A
Space Odyssey, which used an excerpt from Richard Strauss’s symphonic poem Also sprach
• Composers, too: Ludwig van Beethoven wrote a well-known piece called the “Moonlight”
Sonata, and Carl Orff created the comic opera Der Mond (The Moon). Like Debussy, Fauré com-
posed a melody based on Paul Verlaine’s poem Clair de lune. It is interesting to compare how
two contemporaries treated the same text and ended up with two entirely different works.
12 Escape into Space! concert guide
Be a poet inspired by the Write your own poem!
Before deciding to become a musician, Debussy also wrote many poems,
including some which he later set to music. Using Clair de lune as your
inspiration, write your own poem. You can make it rhyme or not!.
…or by the choreography
of our two circus artists.
As part of the concert, artists from the National Circus School will per-
form to the music of Debussy’s Clair de lune. Watch their act, then, when
you return to class, write a verse describing what you felt.
Talking with your hands
You can try choreographing some movement, a dance, or a pantomime
to this music, like National Circus School students Andréanne Nadeau
and Jonathan Morell have done.
Hand and finger gestures constitute a language of their own because
they can communicate so many things. Dancers and circus artists are
well-versed in this form of body language and use it to convey a variety
of emotions. Some gestures are universal, while others are associated
with specific cultures. For example:
• In the West, spontaneous applause is an expression of approval. At
the end of a performance or after a beautifully rendered passage, we
clap to congratulate the artists. We also applaud someone to indicate
respect or express affection, such as at a birthday. In Tibet, people
clap to frighten and chase away evil spirits!
• Placing one’s hand over one’s heart is a sign of affection or friendship.
• Crossing the middle finger over the index finger is thought to bring
good luck… but it can also be a gesture that renders a promise
• A clenched fist held above the head is a symbol of strength. Depending
on the circumstances, it can represent victory (following the election
of a popular leader, for example) or anger (during demonstrations).
• The palms placed together unifies the body in a gesture of prayer that
PHOTOS: NATIONAL CIRCUS SCHOOL
solicits the benediction of either another person or a higher being.
• A thumbs up or thumbs down—a closed fist held with the thumb
extended upward or downward—expresses approval or disapproval
• Covering your face with your hands most often indicates anxiety, but
it can take on a number of different meanings, depending on how it is
Escape into Space! concert guide 13
Who Wants to be a Musical Millionaire?
Object of the game $100 $2,000
In this quiz game, you have to correctly answer It is the closest planet to When the conductor
the sun: indicates the first beat of a
questions of increasing difficulty. The object of
a. Mercury bar, he moves his arm…
the game is to “stay alive” as long as possible to be
b. Uranus a. To the left
able to win as much “prize money” as you can. c. Mars b. To the right
1. Make up teams of four to six contestants and choose d. Jupiter c. Up
a representative. d. Down
2. The host (the teacher) reads the first question
followed by four multiple-choice answers. The host Debussy wrote this piece, $5,000
which we’ll hear during the He was inspired by the
repeats the question and the answers once.
concert: phenomenon of the aurora
3. Contestants have 30 seconds to a minute (depending a. Au clair de la lune borealis to compose a piece
on the level of the students) to answer the question. b. Pleine lune of music:
4. The representative from each team gives the answer c. Clair de lune a. John Deere
their team has chosen. d. La nuit transfigurée b. John Estacio
5. If the team cannot answer the question, they may use $300 d. Mozart
three lifelines (see below).
He will conduct the
6. When all players have given their final answer, the concert: $10,000
host announces the correct answer. Those who have a. Beethoven He was the god of war:
answered correctly continue to play, but those who b. Maxim Gaudette a. Jupiter
answer incorrectly are eliminated from that round. c. Jean-François Rivest b. Pluto
The host keeps score of how much each team has d. John Estacio c. Mars
won. The contestants with the most “prize money” at d. Uranus
the end of the game are the winners $500
This composer wrote a $15,000
symphony named after a This art movement was
Lifelines planet: transposed into music by
If the contestants are having difficulty answering a a. Mozart Debussy:
question, they may use a lifeline to help them “stay b. Beethoven a. Impressionism
alive.” A lifeline may be used anytime, but each life- c. Shostakovich b. Modernism
line may only be used once. There are three types: d. Debussy c. Cubism
• Copycat: The team copies the answer given by $1,000
another team, before hearing it. If the other team What is the value of a half $25,000
provides the right answer, they stay alive. If not, both note? Julie Payette took along
teams are eliminated. the music score of this
• 50/50: The host eliminates two incorrect answers b. 2 symphony on her most
and reads the two remaining answers, leaving the c. ½ recent space mission:
team the choice between one incorrect answer and d. 4 a. Brahms’s First Symphony
the correct answer. b. Beethoven’s Fifth
• Check your notes: The team is allowed to consult c. Shostakovich’s Tenth
their teacher’s guide booklet to find the right answer. Symphony
But they only have one minute to find the answer! d. Beethoven’s Ninth
14 Escape into Space! concert guide
The activities in this guide are suggestions, of course, and do not have to be completed
$50,000 in their entirety. You may decide to focus only on one section of the guide and explore
This piece, which will be one work in a little more depth. Or you can simply pick and choose as you wish to help
performed during the your students discover some of the repertoire they will hear during the concert.
concert, was specially
chosen by Hubert Reeves:
a. Wagner’s Ride of the Websites
Valkyries Hubert Reeves’ official site: http://www.hubertreeves.info/
b. Shostakovich’s Tenth Canadian Space Agency: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/default.asp
National Circus School: http://www.nationalcircusschool.ca/en/home
c. Holst’s The Planets
d. Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Program notes for Borealis by the composer John Estacio: http://www.johnestacio.com/bor-
Information on the aurora borealis:
This famous scientist www.asc-csa.gc.ca/pdf/educator-northern_lights.pdf
played the violin every day:
a. Alfred Nobel
Impressionism in music, with a focus on Canadian composers: http://www.thecanadianen-
c. Albert Einstein
d. Louis Pasteur
Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem The Moon: http://www.lone-star.net/mall/literature/rls/
In his Tenth Symphony, J.R.R. Tolkien’s poem The Man in the Moon Came Down Too Soon: http://www.lovethepoem.
Shostakovich painted the com/famous-poems/the-man-in-the-moon-came-down-too-soon-by-j--r--r--tolkien/
portrait of this man: Paul Verlaine’s poem Clair de lune (with a translation):
a. Karl Marx http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/853446.html
b. Joseph Stalin
c. Nelson Mandela
d. Winston Churchill
Other excellent selections of
$500,000 music that could propel Octavio’s
Which of these languages
does Julie Payette not spacecraft
One of Julie Payette’s favourite pieces, the soprano duet “De torrente in via bibet,” by G.F.
a. Russian Handel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLwhVM-yv2M
The theme from Thunderbirds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RzCB3VRruE
d. Italian Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, considered to be the first impressionist work
of music: http://www.musicme.com/Charles-Dutoit/albums/Debussy:-La-Mer;-Images;-
Timpani are part of this Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra (theme from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey):
sub-family of instruments: http://www.musicme.com/Karl-B%C3%B6hm/albums/Ainsi-Parlait-Zarathoustra---Till-
a. Idiophones L%27espiegle---Don-Juan-0028947678151.html
b. Vibraphones Debussy’s Clair de lune and other classical music used in film scores: http://www.musicme.
c. Membranophones com/Compilation/Cinema-Classics-(B.o.f.)-(Vol.2)-0724357204422.html
d. Chordophones Fauré’s Clair de lune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mjy3Fw5GJY
Debussy’s “other” Clair de lune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zgJRVLIE4o
Escape into Space! concert guide 15
(excerpts from the works)
Track 1 - Estacio, John (born in 1966) Track 8 Bizet, Georges (1838-1875)
Borealis, Misterioso Carmen, Suite No. 1, “Prélude,” “Aragonaise”
Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Orchestre symphonique de Montréal
Grzegorz Nowak, conductor Charles Dutoit, conductor, London
Track 2 - Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770-1827) Track 9 - Holst, Gustav (1874-1934)
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Opus 125 The Planets, “Mars, the Bringer of War”
Allegro ma non troppo (first movement) Orchestre symphonique de Montréal
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra Charles Dutoit, conductor, London
Kurt Masur, conductor, Philips Classics
Track 10 - Debussy, Claude (1862-1918)
Track 3 - Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-1791) Clair de lune
Symphony No. 41 in C major, “Jupiter,” K551 London Symphony Orchestra
Molto Allegro (fourth movement) Bernard Herrman, conductor, London
Track 11 - Beethoven, Ludwig van (1770-1827)
Sir Collin Davis, conductor, Philips Classics
Symphony No. 6 in F major, “Pastoral,” Opus 68
Track 4 - Shostakovich, Dmitri (1906-1975) (fifth movement: Shepherds’ song; cheerful and
Symphony No. 10 in E minor, Opus 93 thankful feelings after the storm)
Allegro (second movement) Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Kurt Masur, conductor, Philips Classics.
Herbert Von Karajan, conductor, Deutsche Grammophon
Track 5 - Wagner, Richard (1813-1883)
Die Walküre, “Hojotoho! Hojotoho!…”
The Metropolitan Opera and Chorus
James Levine, conductor, Deutsche Grammophon
Track 6 - Brahms, Johannes (1833-1897)
Quiz answers: Who Wants
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Opus 68 to Be a Musical Millionaire?
Adagio-Allegro non troppo (fourth movement)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra $100: a $5,000: b $250,000: b
Karl Böhm, conductor, Deutsche Grammophon $200: c $10,000: c $500,000: c
Track 7 - Ravel, Maurice (1875-1935) $300: c $15,000: a $1,000,000: c
Daphnis et Chloé, Suite No. 2, “Lever du jour” $500: a $25,000: b
Orchestre symphonique de Montréal $1,000: b $50,000: d
Charles Dutoit, conductor, London $2,000: d $100,000: c
We thank the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for granting us access to the magnificent photos of space, provided by NASA,
which illustrate the pages of this teacher’s guide and which will also be projected on a giant screen during the Escape into
We thank Universal Music Canada and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra for their permission to use the musical excerpts.
The OSM teacher’s guides created for the Youth Concerts and Children’s Corner concert series are available online at:
Feel free to consult them and to print extra copies if you need.
Teacher’s guide production team
Lucie Renaud, musicologist, concept and writing
Design and layout: Derome design
Suzanne Ferland, OSM, Coordinator of Education and Contemporary Music, concept and project management
Pierre-André Derome, Derome design, graphic design and layout
Keren Penney, translator, English version
Marianne Perron, OSM, Associate Director of Music Programming, Education and Contemporary Music