for string quartet (6:30) or string orchestra (6:30)
This piece is dedicated to the memory of Jack (1980? – 1996), a snaggle-toothed feline who came to stay with the Fenwick family for a night and lingered for many years.
Much of Black Jacques’ thematic material was plundered from two well-known songs: “Frere Jacques” and “Hit the Road, Jack”, which (by coincidence) shares a bass line with “The Cat Came Back” and “Stray Cat Strut”.
The version for string quartet was premiered by the Sunrise String Quartet in 1999. It has since been performed in Cranbrook, BC, Saskatoon, SK, and by Land’s End Chamber Ensemble during their three Noche de Brujas cabaret performances at the Beat Niq Jazz and Social Club in Calgary in October, 2007.
The version for string orchestra was premiered by the Calgary Chamber Players under the skillful direction of Chris Sandvoss late in 1999, or maybe early in 2000 (I was there, but now I forget which). It has also been performed in Regina, SK.
I know, you’re thinking that Jack gets around, but there’s more…
The third version of Black Jacques, for full orchestra, was commissioned by Edmond Agopian, and was completed with the generous support of the Rozsa Foundation. Mr. Agopian led the Calgary Youth Orchestra in the premiere of the full orchestral version on April 22, 2012, at Calgary’s Leacock Theatre.
The Calgary Youth Orchestra will perform the piece four times during its August, 2012 tour of France: at La Madeline, in Paris; the Cryptoportique Gardens in Reims; Isigny-sur-mer; and during the Semaine Acadienne festival in St-Aubin-sur-mer.
for electric violin, cello, alto saxophone, synthesizer, piano, percussion (7:00)
The Benevolent Predator was hatched in 2002 especially for the Land’s End Chamber Ensemble. He… or she… was unleashed during the group’s cabaret at Calgary’s Beat Niq Jazz and Social Club, in March of that year. Her distinctive call was heard again in November 2006, at Art Central.
The Predator is quick to tip her… or his… beastly hat towards progressive rock stalwarts King Crimson and Eddie Jobson (who gleefully wielded a semi-transparent electric fiddle, back in the day), and shows signs of having devoured other, more well-mannered musical luminaries.