Icebergs et le soleil de minuit (Icebergs and the Midnight Sun)
Composed by Simon Martin in 2007, and premiered that year by the Bozzini Quartet at the Composer's Kitchen in Montréal, Icebergs et le soleil de minuit pays homage to the distinguished Canadian painter Jean-Paul Riopelle. In 1977, after visiting the stark northern landscapes, Riopelle painted a black and white series entitled Icebergs, including Midnight Sun (Quartet in White). Martin, who qualifies his composition as Quatuor en blanc (quartet in white) explains that "....each section can be seen as one painting within a series...with inherent contrasting structures and variations.......my work also celebrates life and the rhythm of its manifestations."
Martin's inspiration came from visiting an art exhibit on Ozias Leduc and Paul-Émile Borduas at the Musée de beaux-arts de Mont-Saint-Hilaire in 2005. Leduc and Borduas had both been born in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, and Riopelle had a summer home there. The painters also had professional links, Borduas being an apprentice of Leduc, and a teacher of Riopelle.
Martin has composed tributes to all three painters for chamber ensembles: Icebergs et le soleil de minuit (Riopelle, 2007) for string quartet; Projections libérantes (Borduas, 2008) for saxophone quartet; and L'heure mauve (Leduc, 2010) for classical guitar trio. These works are programmed in the 2011-2012 series "Music and Canvases" inaugurating the new Bourgie Concert hall at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. Each event offers a short tour of the museum's collection followed by a concert of works related to the paintings.
Icebergs et Soleil de minuit - Quatuor en blanc was a finalist for the Jules-Léger Prize for New Chamber Music in 2008.
See also Winter.