Cantate pour une joie
Cantate pour une joie. Cantata in seven sections for soprano, chorus, and orchestra, composed in 1955 by Pierre Mercure. The poems by Gabriel Charpentier (English version by Harold Heiberg) express modern man's search for the happiness of faith. The work incorporates four previous works by Mercure, the choral piece Ils ont détruit la ville (1950) and the three songs, Dissidence (1955). The cantata's premiere, 1 Feb 1956 by Marguerite Lavergne and a CBC chorus and orchestra, was part of a CLComp concert conducted by Jean-Marie Beaudet at Montreal's Plateau Hall and was broadcast by CBC. A recording (RCI 155/4-ACM 35, CD) features the same performers. Under Mercure's direction the cantata was telecast later in 1956 on CBC. Notable among many subsequent performances have been those by Lois Marshall, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and the MSO under Elmer Iseler in Montreal in 1967; by the Sociéte Chorale À Coeur Joie de Lyon under Chantal Masson at Vaison-la-Romaine, France, in 1968; by the NACO under Alexander Brott in 1970 and under Mario Bernardi in Ottawa in 1974; by Clarice Carson and an orchestra under Alexander Brott in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II at the Olympics in Montreal in 1976; by the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra under Dwight Bennett in 1976; and by university groups under Françoys Bernier in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in 1976; by Marie-Danielle Parent, the MSO Chorus and the MSO under Charles Dutoit at the PDA 2 Nov 1986 (broadcast live on the CBC and in Europe); and by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus under Mario Bernardi in 1990. The Faculty of Music Singers at the University of Western Ontario included the work in its recording Un cri de joie (1979? Audat WRC-233).
The music, in the lyrical-muscular manner of the 28-year-old Mercure (who was indebted to Ravel and Honegger), has served also as the score of a Brian Macdonald ballet which was performed 15 Mar 1976 at PDA by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. A vocal score of the cantata was published in 1960 by Ricordi.