Huguette Lavigne Makes Her Piano Dance On Rails

The Ottawa composer let her muse take her away on her sparkling new track.

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Huguette Lavigne takes you on a musical journey with her sparkling new single and video Rails — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

Featuring a lovely, dancing melody supported by ascending arpeggios, Rails carries the listener along a sun-dappled stream of sound. Much like many of her 40-plus piano instrumentals, this is another beautiful manifestation of the Ottawa pianist and composer’s desire to let her muse take her wherever it pleases. “There is something about breaking the rules that can be terribly satisfying,” she says. “My fingers sometimes go where they want to on the keyboard and at times I sort of have to take them back home or rein them in.”

Lavigne’s playing and composing are truly extensions of her physical and mental being. She’s an artist who eschews the tradition of meticulously notating her compositions in favour of relying on a shorthand of her own to facilitate recall for future performances. Her final compositions are eventually stored entirely in her head and fingers. Once they’re recorded she moves on to the next piece. “Not notating everything down keeps things fresh,” explains Lavigne. “You are open to new phrases and resolutions. This is risky, but oh so satisfying!”

Lavigne’s expressive songs are also satisfyingly plentiful. The prolific pianist has released four full-length recordings over the past five years. Her latest album Five O’Clock Somewhere was released in 2020, while Rails is from her third collection Free and Easy, originally released in 2019. Her first album Black Tie Affair debuted in 2015 and a second collection of her works, Yin and Yang, was issued in 2018.

Ottawa portrait and wedding photographer

Lavigne was raised in a milieu of three Canadian cultures: Franco Ontarian, Quebecois, and English Canadian. She studied composition at McGill University and piano at L’Université de Montréal. Consequently, her music has a melting pot of influences including elements of neo-classicism, neo-romanticism, minimalism, jazz, folk and classical. “There has always been something alluring about the pieces I studied, loved and discovered over the years,” recalls Lavigne. “They are valuable, inspired specimens of the universal landscape we have all inherited and that we live in today. The fabric of that music inspires me to this day.”

Lavigne’s composing inspiration always comes from a deeply personal place but the variety of influences she has had can often make what comes out of her fingers surprising. “Somehow and unexpectedly, a style, theme, mood, emotion or vision is released from the deep recesses of memory,” she explains. “It’s a place where the subjective is stored and it surprises me when it lets something loose. Then, I either capture it, or let it go.”

Check out Rails above, hear more from Huguette Lavigne below, and learn more on her website.

Photo by Studio G. R. Martin.