“The Canadian contemporary music company Soundstreams, known for difficult and cerebral works, has mounted a music and theatre production about the life and ideas of admired Quebecois composer Claude Vivier (1948-1983), whose life was rough and tumultuous and whose music was cold, luminous and haunting. The production, titled Musik Für das Ende (which is the name of one of two Vivier pieces performed during the show), is at Toronto’s Crow’s Theatre, a glittering new building in a formerly industrial quarter.
The show, directed by Chris Abraham, begins as a play, with the composer himself nervous to enter his apartment in Paris in 1983, afraid that a stranger is inside. Vivier is played by the remarkably intense and convincingly jumpy Montreal actor Alex Ivanovici, speaking very naturally in French and English. His monologue, written by Zack Russell, provides a dense portrait of a brilliant and tortured man, whose friends, leaving messages on his answering machine, are worried about his fast and dangerous life. Vivier has been picking up a lot of rough guys at random for sex and seems self-destructive. And he is trying to finish a musical composition.”