Characteristics of Cardy's Music
Over 50 of Cardy's compositions were commissioned by the CBC and Canadian groups and individual performers, including the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the St Lawrence String Quartet, Angela Hewitt, Robert Cram and Beverley Johnston.
His music contains characteristics of post-modernism in its references to earlier music - by Ravel in Mirages (1984) and by Monteverdi and Byrd in Apokalypsis - or to styles, as in Jig (1984) and Tango! (1989). Colourful and evocative sonorities, frequently created with chords of vertically symmetric intervals, contrast with sections of elegant lyric melodies over ostinatos and the occasional outburst of a dramatic gesture. The resultant directness of expression, as found in Virelai (1985) - seven variations for clarinet and string orchestra on Machaut's Quant je sui mis - has attracted performers and audiences in North America and Europe. Virelai was recorded by John Rapson and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra (1988, CBC SMCD-5094). Although Cardy explored electronic possibilities in Vox Humana (1977) and wrote for electric flute in Amulet (1977) and electric cello in Sunspots (1976, rev 1980), his major chamber and solo works were acoustic. They include Love Song (1975), Re-Atum (1976), Canticle of the Island (1976), Golden Days, Silver Nights (1977), Sparkle (1980), Angels (1980), The Snow Queen (1980), The Masks of Astarte (1981), Jeu d'Enfant (1981), "...time presses and night begins to fall ... " (1982), Éclat (1984), Outremer: The Land Beyond the Sea (1985), Les Eaux de Tristesse (1986), Mimesis (1987), Qilakitsoq: The Sky Hangs Low (1988), Tombeau (1989), The Little Mermaid (1990), and Avalon (1990); and many others to 2005. He often wrote the lyrics to his own vocal compositions. The Ottawa Chamber Music Society mounted a concert of Cardy's compositions 11 March 2005.
Cardy was an associate of the Canadian Music Centre. He taught at Carleton University 1977-2005, where he was also supervisor of undergraduate studies. As well as being active as an adjudicator and broadcaster, in 1996-7 he was new music advisor to the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Cellist Julian Armour described Cardy as "a great, positive and healthy force in the Canadian music industry" (Ottawa Citizen, 25 March 2005).
Author Elaine Keillor, Betty Nygaard King
Mazey, Steven. "Who's afraid of contemporary music?" Ottawa Citizen, 24 June 1996
Campbell, Jenni Lee and Laucius, Joanne. "Canadian music loses 'great, healthy force'," Ottawa Citizen, 25 March 2005
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Music Centre
Search the extensive CMC website for Canadian composer biographies and interviews, music scores, online newsletters, audio clips, podcasts, and more. Check out "CentreStreams" to listen to online archived recordings featuring outstanding Canadian composers.
The Ottawa Chamber Music Society
The website for the Ottawa Chamber Music Society, host of the annual Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival. Check out the current concert calendar and the "Recordings" links for music clips.
A tribute to the late Professor Patrick Cardy, Carleton University School of Arts and Culture.
Album notes and music clips from the recording "Remembered Voices," featuring Ralitsa Tcholakova, violin and Elaine Keillor, piano. From the Carleton Sound website.
Besides hockey and the maple leaf, there is little as symbolically Canadian as the CBC – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It grew out of a developing nation's need to express its identity and find its voice.