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  Record Launch and Piano Recital of Sounds of North : Two Centuries of Canadian Piano Music

Sounds of NorthThe Canadian Music Centre and Gala Records invite you for a special evening of celebration to the Sounds of North  – Two Centuries of Canadian Piano Music

Special guest : Elaine Keillor

March 27, 2013 at 4 :30 PM
Canadian Music Centre  20 St. Joseph, Street. Toronto
Canadian pianist and musicologist Elaine Keillor has put together and recorded an important anthology of Canadian piano music. She will take the listener on a unique journey through compositions written between 1807 and 2010. 
Thank goodness there is someone like Keillor, a devoted contributor of Canadian Musical Heritage Society and champion of women composers. Keillor has an unaffected, elegant playing style that neatly lays out the many, many different styles and atmospheres she has chosen to represent.’’ John Terauds, Musical Toronto

Canadian Music Centre


  Release of Sounds of North : Two Centuries of Canadian Piano Music

Sounds of NorthEuropean-based musical genres have been created in Canada for over three hundred years.

Gradually Canadian composers have developed a sense of place in their musical creations.
Canadian pianist Elaine Keillor takes the listener on a unique journey through compositions written between 1807 and 2010.

 The piano pieces presented on these four CDs show how composers moved beyond just giving a Canadian-influenced title to their composition. In different ways they allowed the space of their Canadian region to seep into their approach to organizing sounds and wrestled with the great myth of Canada as North.



Elaine KeillorElaine Keillor

*Over 90 Canadian compositions for the first time ever on record

Elaine Keillor, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Carleton University,  received her Associate (ARCT) in piano performance at the age of ten from the Royal Conservatory of Music.  As a pianist she has performed solo recitals, and concertos with orchestras throughout North America and Europe. She performs on harpsichord, early pianofortes and piano and in chamber music ensembles.  
Highly praised for her programming and performance, Keillor appears on over 20 CDs to date.  One reviewer wrote of the CD, Views of the Piano Sonata:  "By her careful programming and impeccable pianism, Elaine Keillor, ... has made a strong case for the continued value and flexibility of sonata form." A review of the recording Remembrances, made with the internationally-known violinist Ralitsa Tcholakova, ended with the phrase, "An excellent CD!"    

In 2009 Keillor received an Honorary Life Membership from the Canadian University Music Society and became one of 50 Ambassadors named by the Canadian Music Centre for their outstanding contributions to performance of Canadian music.


Edison and Berliner started in America, but a lot was going on in Canada too!

Michigan Antique Phograph Society

Berliner‘Another reader alerted me to a “must have” CD last year, but I’m only getting to tell you about it now. Actually it’s more than a CD, since it comes with a beautifully illustrated 82-page CD-size booklet with essays, notes and rare photos. (I also have to point out that the booklet is bilingual so half is in English, half in French, and the print – while sharp and readable – is smaller than most book fonts.). The lengthy title of this set is From Berliner to PCA Victor: The Birth and Rise of the Recording Industry in Canada.

It was produced with funding from the Canadian AV Trust and is being released
by Gala Records ( MAPS Patron Member, Oliver Berliner – grandson of the inventor of the Gramophone – provides a brief spoken introduction, which is followed by a rare advertising record for his grandfather’s machine. Later on we even hear Emile Berliner himself speaking – not the usual Lord’s Prayer, but a private recording made in 1924 recording where he sings! There are Canadian recordings of American singers like Henry Burr, Wilf Carter and Hank Snow as well as Canadian folk music (fiddler Jean Carignan) and jazz (Oscar Peterson). 28 tracks in all. 

It’s a beautiful set and highly recommended.
Available on or direct from Gala at the previously mentioned URL.’

Steve Ramm
In The Groove Magazine, April-May 2011
Michigan Antique Phonograph Society

   Exhibit 2011 at the Emile Berliner Museum

The RCA Victor Years"The RCA Victor Years" is an exhibition that chronicles the history, the technical, artistic influence of the famous company located in Montreal in the heart of the Saint-Henri district.

Through its themes, the exhibit recalls the great periods of the company: the birth of RCA-Victor; the story of its employees, daily life in the plant “the old smokestack’’ , the evolution of recording techniques, the RCA artists. The visitor makes a journey through time surrounded by artefacts: radios, record players, televisions.
Exhibit ends December 18, 2011

The Emile Berliner Museum is located at 1050 Rue Lacasse, C-220, Montreal.
Hours:  Friday to Sunday: 14:00 to 17:00.
To book groups: 514-932-9663

May 15, 2010

February 17, 2010
CD From Berliner to RCA Victor Reviewed in Audiophile Audition

Berliner to RCAFrom Berliner to RCA Victor - The Birth and Rise of the Recording Industry in Canada’  : 28 examples, from a 1903 recorded ad for Berliner Gramophone to a 1959  “45” of Yakety Yak - Gala Records
The story of the recording industry in Canada, focusing on Emile Berliner and his family members there.
This small Canadian label specializes in recorded anthologies, and this one tells the story of the recording industry in Canada by focusing on Emile Berliner and his family there, since his company pressed the first phonograph records in Canada in 1900, and were very involved in the business to the present day. Berliner shares with Edison the invention of the phonograph; he also invented the microphone, the flat disc, carried out the first electrical recording in 1920, and later even came up with a working helicopter and the first acoustic tiles. He founded three major record companies: EMI, Deutsche Gramophone, and Victor. The history of Berliner’s companies in Canada, the evolving sound technologies, and the social situations in which it all happened are covered in the 80-page booklet (half in French of course) and with the 28 varied tracks on the CD.
Frankly, only the tracks by Oscar Peterson and Hank Snow were familiar to me, but I’m sure any Canadian will find plenty of nostalgia here, eh?  Berliner saw a demonstration of the first Edison cylinder phonograph and quickly realized it had problems of the discs wearing out quickly and at the time mass production of them not being possible. He began production of flat discs played with a steel needle at a small factory in Washington D.C. In l899 he opened a factory in Montreal and left his eldest son Herbert Samuel to run it. Most of the recordings were made in the U.S. or Europe - few Canadian artists recorded before 1910.  There were tensions between father Emile and son Herbert, as well as many changes in record labels and pressing plants due partly to Berliner’s original patent on lateral cut records running out in 1917.
After 1915 a number of strictly Canadian artists began to appear on what were now Victor records. They included pop, light music and folk, with many titles in French. One of the tracks is a male vocal on When It’s Springtime in the Rockies, sung in French. Oscar’s Boogie from 1948 is one of the first recordings of child prodigy jazz artist Oscar Peterson. Country singer Hank Snow’s manager made an effort to get him into the Nashville music scene, and he became a top performer in the U.S. as well.  The well-written booklet goes into the effects on the record industry of the 1929 crash, the radio years, cabarets, digitization, etc. There are photos of some of the performers and actual disc labels.  Altogether a fine anthology that should have at least some appeal to collectors and historians in the U.S., where we know so little about our neighbours to the north.
John Sunier
Audiophile Audition

February 17, 2010

Emile Berliner Museum


Exhibit  Goodbye Broadway, Bonjour Montréal
Ragtime and Early Jazz in Montreal ( 1900-1930)

The exhibit opened to the public on February 12, 2010.  This exhibition invites
you to discover a side of Montreal that is still ignored: The love story
that unites this beautiful city to ragtime and the beginning of jazz. It is
also an occasion to find out about the pioneers of ragtime and jazz. Artists
like Lafrenière,  Eckstein,  Thomas,  Tipaldy,  Zbriger,  Guilaroff
and Billy Munro performed in Montreal theatres, cabarets, and cinemas.
They also gave performances in Montreal’s  ‘Red Light’ district.

It is also an era when Quebec became the ideal destination for those fleeing prohibition. Black immigration, railroad expansion, the advent of new recording technologies and the birth of radio, those are all events which contributed to the dissemination of ragtime and jazz in Montreal.

The Museum is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2 pm to 5 pm.  

Musée des ondes Emile Berliner

1050, rue Lacasse, local C-220
Montréal, Québec, Canada
H4C 2Z3
Tel: 514-932-9663


Maureen Forrester – Song Cycles
Fleming  The Confession Stone. Schumann
 Liederkreis. Mahler Das Lied von der Erde

Gala Records  GAL-110
‘I came to admire her (Forrester) greatly as a singer (…) Her singing in the Fleming and Schumann song cycles is simply gorgeous (…)  Robert Fleming’s song cycle (The
 Confession Stone) is remarkably beautiful, and extremely well suited to Forrester’s voice. Based on the poetry of Owen Dobson, they are songs to be sung by Mary, Joseph, Mary Magdalene, Jesus, Judas and God. Both it and Schumann’s Liederkreis were recorded in 1981 and issued on RCA at the time. Her performances are both gorgeously sung and interpretively deep. Indeed, due to a very short pause inserted at the end of the last Fleming song, it flows directly into the first song of the Schumann in a way that is almost magical.’
Lynn René Bayley
  May-June 2008

Canadian Divas    
Swingin’ Easy [Gala]
Another feather in the cap of producer Jean-Pierre Sevigny – two dozen tracks of the “Top Female Vocalists of the Golden Age of Radio and Early Television”.  Norma Locke, Babs Babineau, Alys Robi, Dorothy Collins and Phyllis Marshall are included in this well annotated collection.
Rating: 8 / 10
Len Dobbin

Review for MIRROR of October 25th 2007


Canadian Historical Recordings in the fields of pop, jazz, traditional and classical music Selections by Burr, Pelletier (Steber), Jobin, Gould Forrester, Stratas, Verreau, Bolduc, Vigneault, Kenney, Koffman, Peterson, Charlebois, Ferland, Plamondon.
Gala Records GAL 107 (CD1: 37m 30 s; CD2: 39m 11s)
The goal of the Canadian Audio-Visual Trust is to preserve the sounds and images of Canadian artists. To celebrate its tenth anniversary and in collaboration with Canadian Heritage and the Library and Archives Canada, AV Trust has issued a two-disc set capturing the greatest moments of Canadian music-making, in the classics as well as pop and jazz. What a trip down memory lane! Classical selections range from the lilting tones of Henry Burr singing “When You and I Were Young, Maggie” (in decent sound considering it was recorded in 1923 – the oldest cut in the collection), to Québec tenor Raoul Jobin singing the Flower Song from Carmen, to the magnificent Maureen Forrester in a sublime moment in Mahler, “Urlicht” from his Second Symphony conducted by the legendary Bruno Walter. The most recent selection is that of Teresa Stratas, singing “Lied der Lulu”, in the 1979 Paris production of Lulu that included for the first time the newly discovered Act 3. And of course no collection would be complete without the great Glenn Gould, here playing the Bach Goldberg Variations. Another beautiful moment is Richard Verreau singing M’appari from Flotow’s Martha, accompanied by Wilfrid
There is also much to enjoy in the pop and jazz disc. Moe Koffman’s marvelous “Swinging Shepherd’s Blue” is included, as is the exquisite playing of “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning” by Oscar Peterson. There are omissions – no Jon Vickers, Louis Quilico, Leopold Simoneau, or Lois Marshall on the classical disc, and other pop giants such as Anne Murray are missing. At less for forty minutes of music per disc, surely more could have been added. The selections have a strong Québec focus – this is an observation, not a criticism, since English Canada often fails to recognize the
contributions of French Canadian artists, like Mary Bolduc. This release should be of interest to anyone wishing to find out more about the rich legacy of Canadian musicmaking.
Joseph K. So
The Music Scene, Winter 2007 Info

Elaine Keillor 
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Carleton University

Carleton University

Len Dobbin (Montreal Mirror, Nov. 23, 2005

"Alys Robi Diva(Gala) Unreleased material from 1946 CBC broadcasts with Ms. Robi backed by the orchestra of Lucio Agostini. A document of an important time in Canadian music history."
On a personal note...
"Impressive in every aspect and nostalgic to one who remembers VE-Day celebrations in NDG as a 10 year old.  Bravo!  I'm sure this was very hard work but also a labour of love." Len Dobbin.

PreserVision, Audiovisual Preservision Trust, no.6, 2005

Alys Robi

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