Published Oct 18, 2010In the four years he's been conducting the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano has attained something of a beloved rock-star status among classical music aficionados in the city. But the chance to experience the orchestra has been a strictly luxury affair that few young people are willing to afford. This fall season, the orchestra have decided to pull out of their usual haunts and set down in unorthodox locales for $25 one-offs. Their first such excursion had them playing the beer hangar of the Molson Coors Brewery, in a pairing with electronic music festival MUTEK, who added the Orb's Thomas Fehlmann and fellow German techno veterans Substance & Vainqueur to the bill.
Judging by the rapturous reception Nagano and company received from the 3,000-strong audience stuffed into the hangar on this sold-out Saturday night, they were about to perform to one of their more effusive - and more youthful - crowds in a long time. Their 90-minute renditions of Boulez and Mahler symphonies resounded with surprisingly clarity, given their steel and beer surroundings (one of the venues walls was made of towering stack of beer cases).
The highlight of the evening arrived when Fehlmann performed an original score with five of the symphony's musicians, weaving a 30-minute journey that twisted its way from the emotive classical hallmarks of Max Richter and Marsen Jules through to the sentimental techno crescendos that have come define the classic Kompakt sound. The night continued from there with the orchestra calling it a night and Fehlmann delivering a crowd-rousing techno set.
Chain Reaction's Substance & Vainqueur took the stage at around 2 a.m. for a set of cool and smooth dub techno, but by that point, the massive hangar had already begun to empty out.