Readers’ Choice 2020
For the first time contributors to Readers’ Choice were invited to present their own work. Michael Fijal, a friend since our days in Calgary elementary school, answered the call. Fijal plays flugelhorn, guitar and piano. He also shoots videos to accompany some of his pieces which are posted to his YouTube channel.
2020 has been surreal. And the song I’ve thought about the most this year is Stevie Nicks’ Landslide. What more can be said about her amazing career? She wrote Landslide in 1974 in the Colorado mountains, where she was contemplating giving up music. The lyrics have resonated with me.
Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
These are the questions heading into 2021.
About Michael: I’m a huge music fan and will listen to everything from Kate Bush to Notorious B.I.G.
“The Magpies stay active in winter, as if rising out of the ashes of icy crystals, during the coldest time of year. After the solstice, as days gradually get longer, spirits are lifted by the brightening sunshine sparkling in the snow crystals and crisp air.”
Calgary musician Michael Fijal composes music and videos which you can find on his YouTube channel. His primary instrument is flugelhorn and many of the visuals feature nature, sky, the foothills and Rocky Mountains.
“The joy of musical networking internationally online is finding musicians who you can really resonant with.
“Here’s my first YouTube collaboration with Therese Lefébvre on a composition she wrote called The Lake.”
An email from Therese:
“Dear Michael, I remember discovering your channel at my very beginning on YouTube last year… I remember how happy I was when you answered my first comment to you.. you are not only an amazing experienced artist… but also a very kind and humble person… I never thought a year and a half on I would write a piano piece and you would do me the honour to enrich it with your Flugelhorn.
“It took one listen and it felt instantly right… thank you for your stunning addition to this meditative piece… I heard it many times by now as I worked on its visuals and I simply can’t get enough of it… I love the sound of the Flugelhorn… but the intense way you play it is what leaves a mark… thank you, Maestro.
“I was so excited when you invited me to play on your composition, Therese! Your passionate playing has always inspired me. I recognized in you a musical soulmate who always plays from her heart.
“Exploring the possibilities of how to respond to this composition was a joy for me. It awakened the composer in me as no other could. The ideas tumbled forth in a free flow, with a feeling of grace, inspired by your heartfelt performance and powerful musical intentions.
“Thank you so very much for your invitation and wonderful composition. It has been an uplifting and joyful experience for me. I am very grateful.”
About Michael: In the spirit of this new age of online collaboration, I have found some new musician friends to work with, after many years of solo efforts. As a retired musician and other things (professional musicians can often not survive by music alone), it has been my hobby to continue playing my horn, composing music, and producing music videos that I share on YouTube. There, if you go back far enough, you can see that I was a part-time and full-time military musician and have also led my own jazz groups. I’m living in Calgary, Alberta. My channel can be found here.
Please note that Michael Fijal is available on YouTube only.