For this Guided Listening, you will need:
Text asset: Linda Bouchard, Exquisite Fires
Flash asset: The Elements of Music chart (provide student copies)
Audio assets: Excerpts I and II from Exquisite Fires by Linda Bouchard

Audio excerpts, charts and textual information are provided below the Guided Listening.

I. Research
• Ask students to do a web search to learn about Majnun and Layla, an Arabic Romeo and Juliet story with many variants. Share the findings. (A link to this story is provided on the From Words to Music homepage, Resources tab.)
• Ask: What do all of these versions of the story have in common? (Students identify features such as the separation of the lovers, the strength of their love, violent outcomes, Majnun’s madness.)
• Introduce the music by sharing the information about the composition. What is it about these stories that inspired Bouchard?
&bu Read More
For this Guided Listening, you will need:
Text asset: Linda Bouchard, Exquisite Fires
Flash asset: The Elements of Music chart (provide student copies)
Audio assets: Excerpts I and II from Exquisite Fires by Linda Bouchard

Audio excerpts, charts and textual information are provided below the Guided Listening.

I. Research
• Ask students to do a web search to learn about Majnun and Layla, an Arabic Romeo and Juliet story with many variants. Share the findings. (A link to this story is provided on the From Words to Music homepage, Resources tab.)
• Ask: What do all of these versions of the story have in common? (Students identify features such as the separation of the lovers, the strength of their love, violent outcomes, Majnun’s madness.)
• Introduce the music by sharing the information about the composition. What is it about these stories that inspired Bouchard?
• Ask students to remember any other medieval stories they are familiar with – Robin Hood and King Arthur are the most well-known.

II. Listen and Chart
• Create jigsaw groups and distribute student copies of the Elements of Music chart. Assign two elements of music to each expert group. Listen a number of times to audio asset Excerpt I from Exquisite Fires of the music. Expert groups make notes about what they hear.
• Repeat the listening with the audio asset Excerpt II from Exquisite Fires by Linda Bouchard and new copies of the Elements sheets, then debrief in home groups. All students should make notes on all the elements on their charts as they listen to each expert.

III. Discuss and Reflect
• Discuss: How did Linda Bouchard use the elements of music to achieve her goal of playing with orchestral colours in the most dramatic way?
• Reflect in writing: Does it add to your enjoyment of this work to know that Linda Bouchard was inspired by medieval stories? Did you think of these as you listened?
• Extension: Listen to the rest of the music, using the elements chart as personal prompts.

© 2010, National Arts Centre. All Rights Reserved.

Linda Bouchard (1957 - )

French-Canadian composer Linda Bouchard has had a distinguished career as composer and conductor, including a period as the Composer-in-Residence for the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Exquisite Fires was premiered by that orchestra in 1993. The music was inspired by medieval romances, but does not tell a story.

Bouchard writes:

From the start I wanted to compose a Suite of contrasting movements, short movements but whole, each one distinct and extreme in its character. My goal was to play with orchestral colours in the most dramatic way. At the time I was reading Medieval Love Myths – there it was, a source of inspiration that allowed for excesses....These stories were filled with magical, passionate images: knights worthy, brave and fierce, love potions....These stories created the spirit of Exquisite Fires. (From the introduction to the score, unpublished manuscript, Canadian Music Centre collection)
Linda Bouchard (1957 - )

French-Canadian composer Linda Bouchard has had a distinguished career as composer and conductor, including a period as the Composer-in-Residence for the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Exquisite Fires was premiered by that orchestra in 1993. The music was inspired by medieval romances, but does not tell a story.

Bouchard writes:

From the start I wanted to compose a Suite of contrasting movements, short movements but whole, each one distinct and extreme in its character. My goal was to play with orchestral colours in the most dramatic way. At the time I was reading Medieval Love Myths – there it was, a source of inspiration that allowed for excesses....These stories were filled with magical, passionate images: knights worthy, brave and fierce, love potions....These stories created the spirit of Exquisite Fires. (From the introduction to the score, unpublished manuscript, Canadian Music Centre collection)

© 2010, National Arts Centre. All Rights Reserved.

An Elements of Music chart to be used while listening to Linda Bouchard's Exquisite Fires.

Distribute the copies of this chart for students to use as they listen to Linda Bouchard's Exquisite Fires.

Connexionarts
Catherine West and Alison Kenny-Gardhouse

© 2010, National Arts Centre. All Rights Reserved.


An excerpt from Exquisite Fires by Linda Bouchard (0:00-1:06).

Linda Bouchard

© 1993, Linda Bouchard.


An excerpt from Exquisite Fires by Linda Bouchard (5:10-5:54).

Linda Bouchard

© 1993, Linda Bouchard.


Learning Objectives

From Words to Music is designed for students and educators to meet the following objectives.
  • Gain an understanding of how music can be used to capture the spirit of a story, heighten the telling of a story or to inspire the mood of a musical composition.
  • Consider why literature is an important source of inspiration to composers.
  • Create compositions in response to a literary stimulus.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans