Pricey Harmonium Collection Makes History
By David Farrell
Released just over two months ago by GSI Musique, a 25-track symphonic interpretation of ‘70s Quebec folk-rock ensemble Harmonium’s three albums is now certified platinum, representing the sale of 80,000 copies that have grossed as much as $4-million to date.
Available as a $30 download, the 140-minute collection is also available as a $40 2-CD set and a $200 four-disc vinyl boxed set that had its release on December 3, 2020. This week it became the first album since 2013 to achieve a platinum sales certification (without diluting the total with 'equivalent' streams). More remarkable is that Harmonium symphonique – Histoires sans paroles symphonique has been exclusively available through the Oziko transactional online shop set up by GSI for the long mothballed group. Not even Amazon has been selling this title.
The project, conceived by Harmonium co-founder Serge Fiori, was overseen by GSI Musique president and producer Nicolas Lemieux and led by Simon Leclerc, a well-known conductor, composer, arranger and orchestra leader. Leclerc has composed for film and TV and has credits working with Charles Aznavour, Mika and Simple Plan.
Impressively, the recording with the full symphony and guest singers was recorded during the pandemic using required protocols in the studio.
The creators say they are hopeful that the music can be used in a film project — and are even open to the work being chopped up for that purpose, according to Marilyse Hamelin who has interviewed Fiori and Leclerc. “It’s all still open, because there’s something that floats about the way Simon adapted the songs,” Fiori tells her.
You can listen to a playlist culled from the album online.
And from Harmonium's first album...