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2000 l'International Benson & Hedges Montréal Pyromusical Competition Report

Canada Impression and Light Wednesday July 26th, 2000

BEM Fireworks, designed by Paul Masson, FireOne firing

This Canadian company is making its debut at the Benson & Hedges International. With more than 25 years of experience in the industry, BEM is renowned for its highly original shows. Determined to distinguish itself during the competition, this recruit presents a pyromusical choreography inspired by such great classical composers as Debussy, Ravel, Borodin and Delibes. The display will also include several pieces of international music."

A few days of summer weather, rare this year, provided the perfect backdrop for this debutant Canadian team. Though BEM are not manufacturers, they did commission special Roman candles from Panzera for this show and used product from twenty five companies with more than 3000 pieces used. The 28 year old Paul Masson, son of the founder of BEM, Bernard, was the youngest designer this year. This was the first time BEM had used the computerized FireOne firing system and one of the designers of the system was present to offer his assistance.

Part 1 to the music Introduction from the album Blood by This Mortal Coil. The display opened dramatically with huge glittering pistil and comet shells, then blue and gold comet shells with comet fans beneath. Then more huge shells with pistils moving to barrages of shells of fireflies. These were followed by ball candles and crossette comet candles with weeping willow charcoal comet shells turning to silver above as the music moved seamlessly to:

Part 2 to the music Masquerade from the album Masquerade Suite by Aram Khachaturian. This segment began with crossed comet candles with pistil shells above and then shells of pink stars followed by shells of crackling comets and then rings of comets. Then mines of clusters of stars with a huge red turning to silver shell above and followed by silver dahlia shells and shells of rings of tourbillons. Next, shells of charcoal comets and colour stars followed by the dense flower-like double petalled tourbillon shells followed by an enormous peony. This was followed by kamuro shells with pistils of fireflies and shells of clusters of stars, including go-getters in green and then a large weeping willow followed by more green go-getters. Blue bombette candles and gold comet candles opened up with shells of pistils in blue and gold above followed by really large blue shells. Next, crossed gold glitter comets with the same in shells and bombettes above followed by shells of silver and crackling comets and then colour stars and crackling pistils and followed by shells of clusters of colour with more crackling pistils. The segment was brought to a close with a large colour and crackling shells above and a huge brilliantly multi-coloured mine front below, to cheers from the crowd.

Part 3 to the music Daphnis et Chloé from the album Suite No 2 by Maurice Ravel. This more serene segment opened with several large silver fountains with some strobes at the back of the display. Then the lake was filled with nautic flares, turning into white strobes as hissing tourbillon candles fired up and were followed by silver comet candles and then more tourbillon candles. After these, candles of crossette ball stars with shells of fireflies above and also silver comets and then shells of red stars and silver comets. These were followed by silver kamuro shells and then regular kamuros and brocade shells, trailing to the ground. More barrages of bright brocade shells were fired, filling the sky and trailing to the ground to cheers from the crowd. Next, rising tail shells bursting into silver dahlias, then shells of green, shells with pistils and huge mines of clusters of pale gold comets with the segment coming to a close with an emormous brocade shell, filling the sky.

Part 4 to the music Flower Duet from the album Lakmé by Léo Delibes. Candles of purple balls and crossed gold glitter comets opened this segment followed be candles of silver comets and pastel coloured balls. Then shells of crackling pistils and shells of crossette balls and more crackle shells. These were followed by go-getter shells and then silver rising tail dahlias and, following the pace of the music very well, weeping willow charcoal comet shells, the segment coming to a close with shells of crossette crackling electric comets as the music moved seamlessly to:

Part 5 to the music Sirènes from the album Nocturnes by Claude Debussy. Nautic fountains lit up in the lake with comet candles behind and large glitter shells above followed by shells of fireflies. Next, candles of pastel balls and bright fireball stars as more nautic fountains lit up. Then brocade shells above with bright ball fans below followed by shells of falling star clusters and then large colour shells above. Next, really bright ball candles and then fast cakes of crossette balls. These were followed by large blue shells with comet candles below in clusters and then shells of fireflies. Next really large orange shells followed by weeping willow charcoal comet shells turning to fireflies with large silver cluster mines beneath and then huge brocade shells mixed with large orange comet shells above with fans of glitter comet candles below. Then large shells of comets and colour, shells of glittering comets and the segment coming to a close with large weeping willow charcoal comet shells turning to silver.

Part 6 to the music Passion from the album Passion by Peter Gabriel. A line of strobes lit up as two girandolas rose into the air, fell towards the ground, and then rose up again as three more ascended, then descended and finally rose up once again. Crossed gold comet bombette candles opened up as bombettes and shells in glitter fired above. Then rising tail dahlia shells followed by charcoal comet crossette candle fans as palm-tree weeping willows rose into the sky with more charcoal comet crossette candles, then augmented by the same in bombettes and more palm-tree weeping willow shells. The weeping willows were then replaced by huge brocade shells, bringing the segment to a close with the sky filled with brocade.

Part 7 to the music Italia from the album The Talented Mr. Ripley by Gabriel Yared. Bright meteor comet candles with flitter fans in the centre of the display opened up as the lake filled with nautic flares turning to strobes. Then more pale gold meteor headed comet candles with shells of gold glitter turning to gold fireflies above. These were repeated and followed by silver comet shells and then shells of blue turning to orange with glitter comet bombette candles below, the segment coming to a close with large comet shells as the music moved seamlessly to:

Part 8 to the music Peer Gynt from the album Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg. Several fountains in the shape of fleur-de-lyss opened and were followed by crossed pale gold comet candles with huge ball shells above. Then barrages of firefly with brocade shells as well. Then large shells of clusters of brocade at a very high level with firefly shells below, the segment coming to a close with multi-break shell-of-shells of silver dahlias.

Part 9 to the music Polowetzer Tanze from the album Polowetzer Tanze by Aleksandr Borodine. Note-synchronized mines with candles of glitter comets and tourbillons opened this segment. Then mines of tourbillons, really large mines in purple, then in green, with glitter shells above followed by salute-terminated tourbillons and then huge mines of clusters of silver comets with mines of whistles and more tourbillons. These were followed by interesting bombette mines and more whistles and tourbillons. Then more mines of clusters of comets, with glitter shells above, more whistles, mines of fireflies, barrages of salutes, volleys of really bright mines, more salutes, more mines of fireflies, the segment coming to a close with glitter shells and really bright mines.

Part 10 to the music New World Symphony from the album Symphony No. 9 by Antonin Dvorak. This began with cakes fo bright silver crossette comets with silver dahlia shells above. Then rising tail palm trees followed by multi-break dahlias and then a front of hissing mines. More cakes of silver crossette comets with silver dahlias above and large shells of orange followed by shells of rings and comets and then large blue shells. These were followed by large shells with pistils turning to crackling comets and shells of crossette ball stars. Crossed glitter comet fan candles opened up and were followed by colour bombette candles and more of the fast cakes of silver crossettes. The pace increased with huge shells of crackle, large pistil shells and large numbers of cakes and shells of crackle, bringing the segment to a noisy close.

Part 11 to the music Spartacus from the album Spartacus by Aram Khachaturian. This penultimate segment opened with charcoal comet candle fans, glitter comet bombettes and low brocade shells. Then shells of bright crossette balls followed by shells of charcoal comets turning to colour clusters and then barrages of colour cluster shells and fireflies. These were followed by large shells of crackling comets and more of the crossette ball shells and then lots of silver crackling crossette shells with bombettes in green below with candles of electric comets. Next, large blue shells followed by charcoal comet shells and more crackling electric comet shells and then shells of crackling comets with firefly pistils and then silver comet shells. These were followed by large shells in orange turning to silver and then shells of blue turning to orange and then to silver. Next, shells of charcoal comets followed by large silver comet shells, more large orange shells, the segment coming to a close with, I think, brocade shells ( I really can't read my notes here).

Part 12 to the music Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi from the album Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. This final, dramatic, segement opened barrages of huge colour and comet shells, with crackling comets and then a huge brocade. Then a fan of fast balls from the centre with cakes of dazzling crossette balls. A barrage of salutes and huge nautic mines filled the lake as silver comet shells burst above as the pace increased with barrages of really large shells, volleys of salutes and cakes of salutes. Above these, really large charcoal comet shells turning to blue with pistils, more and more salutes and further barrages of really large shells with crackling comets and pistils. The segment finally coming to a close with vast numbers of salutes and ending with an enormous bright brocade shell, to cheers from the crowd.

This was a truly excellent display from the debutant Canadian team. Throughout the display, really large shells were used with excellent quality and colours througout. The music flowed more or less seamlessly throughout and, especially early on in the display, the pace of the fireworks really complimented the music. Considering this was the team's first appearance, they made good use of the site. However, at a few points it must be noted that, in my opinion, there was too much happening at once, particularly some of the kamuro and brocade shells were cut off by other lower-level material and at a couple of points where segments ended with brocades, the shells had burned out a couple of seconds before the music finished, though the strong wind may have been a factor here. This minor criticisms aside, this really was a very enjoyable display with excellent product throughout. I'm happy I'm not a judge this year!


Thanks to the public relations people of La Ronde for the official press release material, shown in white.