“strings.lines” reviewed by The Sound Projector

Nicolas Bernier is another modern composer, based in Montreal. On Strings.Lines (CRÓNICA 053) we hear five compositions of his played by Pierre Yves-Martel and Chris Bartos, on the viola da gamba and violin respectively. At the heart of these works resides an obsession with perfect pitch, as manifested by that simple device the tuning fork; over time Bernier grew so preoccupied that he built up a substantial collection of forks in the way that you or I might collect old milk bottles, and the fork’s constant pitch is what formed the basis of these monotonous, droney, melancholic string works, on which the musicians were instructed to stay as close to the fork’s pitch as possible. Bernier was quite literally “feeding” the players their cues with his forks. Not unaware of what he deems to be the “symbolism” of the notion of perfect pitch, a way of organising music that has led to the current state of Western tonalism, Bernier is attempting to continue the traditions of that symbolism in some way. I bet he and Tony Conrad would have some interesting discussions. Ed Pinsent

via The Sound Projector