Five musical suggestions for a brilliant Nuit on the town, or a fruitful fall tour by day
To the anti-social and the early-to-bed crowd, please skip down to the bottom of this post. For everyone else, get a good nap in this afternoon and brace yourself for the city's 5th annual sundown-to-sunrise arts fest.
I think that the best way to experience Nuit Blanche is by randomly stumbling across something interesting, rather than going out with a fixed itinerary. Because crowds can vary widely, having your heart set on one particular location can sometimes become an exercise in crowd-frustration.
If you're not into electronic assistance, here are some suggestions for serious music listening that's pretty much guaranteed to be great:
-Between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Ashiq Aziz will lead soprano Dawn Bailey and a very impressive list of period-performance masters assembled as the Classical Music Consort in an all-Handel programme at St. Thomas's Anglican Church, 383 Huron St. The church is host to an all-night show called Pillars of Fire, where performers will riff on the meaning of fire and light.
-There are several great live music options inside at the Royal Conservatory's Telus Centre, 273 Bloor St. W. Outside, in the new square along Bloor St., is a fascinating video-projection duel between a jazz quartet and a classical quartet, where people with a specific kind of smart phone (Telus, natch) can vote on their favourite interpretation of a number of pieces, including the premiere of a new work by Montrealer José Evangelista.
- XXIX, A 6-minute video installation by Laurel MacDonald in the ROM's lobby that picks up on her QUI sound installation (created with John Oswald) from 2007. In this new version, she uses 21 voices, each singing in a different language to music by Josquin des Prez (MacDonald herself sings in Latin).
-Oswald is part of a night of musical fun and experiments at Chalmers House, home of the Canadian Music Centre, at 20 St. Joseph St.
-Erik Satie's Vexations, is a doozie, set to last for the full 12 hours of Nuit Blanche, as the short, strange score is repeated 420 times on two pianos. As it is played each time, the single sheet of paper with notes on it will be passed to someone, who will fold it into something artlike. The notable keyboard conspirators include Eve Egoyan and John Kameel Farah. It takes place in Santiago Calatrava's ever-gorgeous galleria liking Yonge and Bay Sts. in Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place).
To give you an idea of what to expect to hear, here is a clip from a Vexations marathon organized by London Sinfonietta earlier this year:
OUT BY DAY AND OUT OF TOWN
Word is that the trees are already ablaze north of Highway 7, so a different kind of weekend option would be to drive north, check out the fall foliage as well as the final weekend of Barrie's Colours of Music Festival, which attracts a pretty impressive roster of excellent artists. Check out the details here.
To get us in the mood here are some fall pictures that have nothing to do with Ontario, set to some very familiar music (The photographer and compiler, Rachelle Steinberg, notes that the pictures are from around her home in coastal Oregon, Michigan, New York and Cape Cod):