Michel-Georges Brégent

Initially a self-taught composer, in about 1965 Brégent began work on the first organ section of a vast four-part biblical fresco entitled Les Testaments. His CBC-commissioned radio work Atlantide won the network a first special distinction of the Prix Italia 1985.

Br\u00e9gent, Michel-Georges
Musician Michel-Georges Br\u00e9gent (courtesy Christina Petrowska-Quilico).

Brégent, Michel-Georges

Michel-Georges Brégent. Composer, keyboard player, b Montreal 29 Jan 1948, d Montreal 4 Sep 1993. Michel-Georges Brégent studied 1967-70 at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec à Montréal with Gilles Tremblay (composition), Jean Laurendeau (ondes Martenot), Raoul Sosa (piano), and Irving Heller (sight reading). Among the instruments he mastered were the organ, electric piano, Mellotron, and synthesizer. With his brother Jacques, and occasionally with other musicians, he formed the group Brégent (1972-5, 1978-80), devoted mainly to the musical interpretation of works by French and Québécois poets. The brothers made two LPs: Poussière des regrets (1973, RCA PCS-4021) and Partir pour ailleurs (1978, Cam CML-2003). Brégent went to Paris on a Canada Council grant in the fall of 1973 and lived there until 1978, working as an accompanist for shows by Lewis Furey in 1974 and performing 1975-9 in the Dionne-Brégent Duo with Vincent Dionne.

Initially a self-taught composer, in about 1965 Brégent began work on the first organ section of a vast four-part biblical fresco entitled Les Testaments. His CBC-commissioned radio work Atlantide won the network a first special distinction of the Prix Italia 1985. In 1987, Trad-sens-concertio was first performed in an abridged version by Louis-Philippe Pelletier and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, which had commissioned the work. That same year Brégent was named composer-in-residence at the Canadian Opera Company, which premiered his chamber opera Réalitillusion in 1988. On 26 May 1994, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec dedicated a concert to him at the Salle Pierre Mercure. He was a member of the Canadian League of Composers and an associate of the Canadian Music Centre. He was married to the pianist Christina Petrowska.

According to Harry Halbreich, renowned Belgian musicographer, Brégent was the visionary mystic whose keen intelligence confidently storms the wildest utopias...a man of complex structures, of instrumental virtuosity serving a fertile and dazzling expression" (Le Monde de la musique, October 1984).

Selected Discography

Brégent - Walter Boudreau. Atlantide/Golgot(h)a. 1992. C. Petrowska-Quilico piano. Independent IMSO 9201

Hommage à Michel-Georges Brégent. 1995. Ensemble SMCQ. Analekta ANC 20902

Brégent - Messaien - Boulez - Saint-Marcoux. Gems with an Edge. C. Petrowska-Quilico piano. 2003. Welspringe WEL 0007

16 Portraits: Music of Michel-Georges Brégent. C. Petrowska-Quilico piano. 2005. Centrediscs CMCCD 10805

Dionne - Brégent. 2006. Independent. XXI 21548

Grandeur. 2006. Independent OMBU 1003

Selected Compositions

Stage and Electronic Music
Conjugaison. 1968, 1971, 1981. 3 pianos, 2 prepared pianos, tape, lighting, public. MS.

Atlantide. 1985. 6 voices, 41 perf, computer, tape. MS.

Réalitillusion (Brégent). 1988. 2 sopranos, mezzo, tenor, 2 bar, 5 perf. MS.

Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Trad-sens concertio. 1987. Piano, orch. MS.

Concierto-flamenco. 1988. Guitar, orch. MS.

Les Testaments. 1987-90. Org, chor, orch. MS.

Chamber Music
Introspection. 1968. Org, 3 trumpets, percussion, rev 1981-8 for organ, chorus, orch. MS.

Contes pour enfants. 1978. Harmonica, guitar. MS.

Dilmun eden: quatre règnes dans l'évolution terrestre. 1981 (rev 1985). Flute, oboe, harp, percussion, violin, viola, double-bass. MS.

Sur mesures. 1977-81. Violin, guitar. MS.

Mitzvot en vue de l'omniprésence divine. 1982. 3 saxophone quartets (saxophone quartet, tape). MS.

La Remontée d'Adanac O, le salmo salar. 1982. Small orch. MS.

Breathing. 1984. 2 accordion (accordion, tape). MS.

Melorythmharmundi. 1984. Flute, clarinet, saxophone, percussion, piano, violoncello, guitar. MS.

Variations parallèles. 1984. Ondes Martenot, piano. MS.

Popsi marcia "Densi-dimensio." 1987. 4 trumpets, 4 horns, 2 tubas, 4 percussion. MS.

Keyboard
Grande toccate-sonate barbare. 1965.(rev 1988). Pianoforte. MS.

Les Testaments. 1966. Organ. MS.

Paysage. 1967 (rev 1986). Pianoforte. MS.

Liage 5. 1968 (rev 1981). Organ for 4 hands. MS.

Geste. 1970. Pianoforte. MS. RCI 409 (Petrowska).

Zeitstreben. 1971. Organ. MS.

Portraits. 1966-88. Pianoforte. MS.

Choir or Voice
Between Innocence and Experience (W. Blake). 1975. Bass, keyboard, percussion. Ms

Sapho, trois poèmes d'amour (Sapho). 1979. Soprano, flute, guitar. MS. RCI 497 (P. Vaillancourt).

Ritornella, la roue cosmique. 1980. 19 soloists, SATB. MS.

Henri Mutsaers libratina (Brégent). 1983. Soprano, horn, violin, viola. MS.

Swiato: un pas vers la lumière. "In memoriam Claude Vivier," (Plato, C. Vivier). 1984. Optional speaker, bass, soprano, mezzo, small orch. MS.

Also works in collaboration with V. Dionne and the Groupe des sisses (See W. Boudreau).

Writings

Michel-Georges Brégent, "L'Unité en réponse à la répression," Sortir (Montreal 1978)

Bibliography

Petrowska-Brégent, Christina. "The concept of 'Geste'," Canada Music Book, 9, Autumn-Winter 1974

L'Heureux, Christine. "Brégent seeks to broaden consciousness through music," Music Scene, 301, May-Jun 1978

PRO Canada Ltd. "Michel-Georges Brégent," pamphlet 1984

Bougouin, François. "Un adieu à Michel-Georges Brégent," SOCAN, Nov 1993