Pop music pushes at the boundaries of conventional composition too
—Matt Schellenberg, musician
Even before Beck released Song Reader, a book of sheet music, he didn't know that Winnipeg's own Royal Canoe already had plans to bring it to life.
That's because the band's own Matt Schellenberg had joined forces with Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra's music director Alexander Mickelthwate to help craft Pop Nuit, two nights of experimental concerts at the annual New Music Festival.
So on February 2nd, at midnight, in the lobby of the Pantages Playhouse, Royal Canoe's contribution to Pop Nuit will find them playing music they've never actually heard.
Beck Hansen released Song Reader in sheet music form only (AP)
"We heard that Beck was putting out an album only on sheet music on
December 10th and this was months before that. And we were like, 'Well,
December 10th to February 2nd we could probably learn that,'" Schellenberg explains.
"And so we
had no clue what it would be like, but we decided, whatever it was, we
would produce it in a certain way. And it's all of these songs that come
on beautiful sheet music, two staves of piano and a melody and we've
added much, much more than that."
For Schellenberg, bringing pop music into the New Music Festival is a natural evolution, and one he's excited to be a part of. "I went to a bunch of the New Music Festival growing up, it was kind of the thing to do with my dad who's a conductor," he says.
"And last year I saw that piece they did with the guy from Sigur Ros and thought this is new music from a pop perspective. Pop music pushes at the boundaries of conventional composition too."
Schellenberg understands that while a lot of pop music prides itself on being formulaic, there's a lot more potential for it to expand. "Innovating within that is something that is the thing to do in pop music now. I wanted to get involved and see if we could go even further."Royal Canoe will perform Song Reader with two strings, a French horn and baritone sax, February 2 at the Pantages Playhouse.