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2000 l'International Benson & Hedges Montréal Pyromusical Competition Report

Japan Hanabi Fantasia Sunday June 25th, 2000

Marutamaya Ogatsu Fireworks, artistic director Kenya Nomura, Pyrodigital firing

"Having been awarded the Gold Jupiter in 1985, the first year of the competition, and the Bronze Jupiter in 1994, this major Japanese company returns to Montréal for its 6th visit. Renowned for the quality and the variety of its presentations, only Marutamaya would dare attempt the extravagence implied by the title Hanabi Fantasia. The musical selections include such diverse names as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, André Gagnon and Vivaldi"

Torrential afternoon rain threatened to wash-out this display from the 400 year masters of pyrotechnics from Japan, but the weather cleared up to a perfect warm summer's evening. Specializing in the traditional Hanabi or chrysanthemum shells, the ancient craft techniques of hand assembley are still used, the majority of the fireworks for this display being manufactured by Marutamaya. Despite the ancient traditions used, the latest Pyrodigital firing system was used for this display.

Part 1 to the music Millenium Fanfare by Andy Quinn. The display opened with silver rising-tail shells bursting to gold comets with blue stars turning to red. These were followed by barrages of gold comet with blue star shells, with bright-headed charcoal comet candles below. More barrages of chrysanthemum shells in multi-colours, with glitter mines below and then shaped-burst shells of rings. The music moved seamlessly to:

Part 2 to the music Discovery by The John Tesh Project. Bursts of coloured rings were followed by glitter mines and then shells of slow-falling orange stars and mines of orange stars. These were repeated and followed by blue star mines with shells of gold comets with blue stars and shells of silver turning to blue and vice versa. Then bunches of glitter candles with shells of gold comets turning to white above, the segment closing with a barrage of large multi-colour chrysthanemum shells as the music moved seamlessly to:

Part 3 to the music Rhapsody for Orchestra by Yuzo Toyama. A front of loud crackling mines opened up this segment as a set-piece of red lances turning to white waterfalls traced out the shape of Mount Fuji. Flash pots and spark sprays fired on and off and then 180 degree fans of very fast stars opened up. A line of strobe pots fired up and then lots of the 180 degree fans of fast comets with bright star heads. Above this, shells of blue turning to fast fireflies were followed by fans of crossette comets with barrages of crackling mines and shells. Then more of the gold comet and blue star shells, some as shaped-bursts in the form of butterflies. More shaped-burst shells in rings, double rings and even smiley faces! More butterfly shells in gold comets, shells of crackling glitter and then gold comets and blue stars followed by shells of comets turning to fireflies. Some huge colour chrysanthemum shells were followed by shells of bunches of small, slow falling colour stars and then shells of fireflies. Glittering mines below and then shells with pistils above and more shaped burst shells with four-leaf clover shapes, smiley faces and even a cat! (This was a smiley face with comets as whiskers). Beneath these, mines of clusters of green, red or blue stars, with shells of red turning to blue and vice versa above. More shells of bunches of stars, with this fantastic segment coming to a close with shells of blue stars turning to glitter kamuro threads, reaching down to the lake.

Part 4 to the music Technopolice 2000-01 by Yellow Magic Orchestra. This began with flash-pots and orange, smoky fireballs and silver spark sprays, all perfectly note-synchronized. After lots of dazzling flash-pots, candles of clusters of red stars and then candles of thick charcoal comets with bright coloured heads, first in orange, then turquoise, with the stars starting to fall again before burning out. Next, mines of clusters of stars, with shells of charcoal comets and ball stars above. Then more of the thick charcoal comet with bright star candles with more ball and comet shells above. More silver spark sprays with glitter mines and shells of gold comets and blue stars above, followed by shells of comets turning to blue then red, or blue then white. Dazzling flash-pots once again lit up, with more of the thick charcoal comet and bright star candles with mines of comets, the segment coming to a close with volleys of multi-colour shells, salutes and crackling mines.

Part 5 to the music The Enemy God Dances with the Black Spirits by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Mines of clusters of stars repeated several times and then a line of strobe-pots opened up. Above these, glittering gold crossette candles, barrages of cluster mines and perfectly note-synchronized salutes. Then candles of tourbillons with cluster mines behind, the segment brought to a close with shells of twinkling stars falling slowly all the way to the ground.

Part 6 to the music Comme au premier jour by André Gagnon. Shells of blue stars turning to white were augmented by mines of clusters of blue stars and then volleys of blue star shells, with more of the same in mines. Then shells of red turning to blue, again and again, followed by go-getters in orange with mines of orange stars. This theme was repeated and then followed by orange star shells and then cluster mines in purple with the same in shells. Shells of orange, slow-falling stars were followed by candles of tourbillons and salutes and then shells of purple and orange. Then mines of tourbillons with barrages of multi-coloured shells of slow falling clusters of stars. Next, candles with screaming whistling tourbillons and mines of white comet clusters, followed by shells of huge wiggly tourbillons, filling the sky. Then louder screaming whistling tourbillons candles with even more shells of wiggly tourbillons with mines of clusters of stars behind and shells of go-getters above. The segment was brought to a close with large shells with pistils and salutes.

Part 7 to the music Neiges by André Gagnon. This segment began more serenely with the thick charcoal comet star headed candles, with shells of blue rings with pistils, shaped-burst shells of hearts, smiley faces, triple rings and comet rings turning to blue. Then barrages of multi-coloured star shells with some really large shells with pistils, followed by silver rising-tail shells bursting to huge blue and white pistils and comets. Then burst of multi-colour shells with stars turning into coloured twinklers, then pistil shells turning to pale gold kamuros and followed by slow falling multiple-clusters of colour stars, filling the sky and then shaped-burst shells in the form of butterfiles turning to gold kamuros. Next, barrages of crackling mines with the same in shells followed by shells of slow falling twinkling stars and then barrages of firefly shells. These were followed by the same in mines, and shells of clusters of fireflies, then mines of orange stars with orange, then green, then yellow firefly shells. Gold glittering candles were followed by shells of rings whose stars then broke into smaller stars, the segment coming to a close with barrages of crackling shells.

Part 8 to the music Spring, from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi. This segment began with crackle shells and mines followed by shells of silver turning to blue and then more crackling mines as the music moved seamlessly to:

Part 9 to the music Russian Dance, from The Nut Cracker Suite by Pietor Ilitch Tchaïkovski. A line of fountains opened up along the lake with candles of the thick charcoal comets with colour stars in orange and then purple followed by salutes and orange smoky fireballs and spark sprays in perfect note synchronization as the music moved seamlessly to:

Part 10 to the music Firebird by Igor Stravinski. Perfectly synchronized mines with colour chrysanthemum shells above were the theme here, continuing for some time and then followed by glittering gold crossette candles as the music moved seamlessly to:

Part 11 to the music The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss. Candles of gold hissing tourbillons and colour balls were followed by candles of glitter, then orange balls and then silver comets and salutes. Crackling mines, perfectly synchronized, were followed by salute barrages and mines of comets with shells of red turning to blue above. Then candles with whistling tourbillons, terminated in salutes, with mine barrages and shells of gold comets with blue stars above, then the same in green and then mines of crackle. This segment was brought to a close with shells of salutes, tourbillons and crackling mines and shells.

Part 12 to the music Under Thunder and Lightning by Johann Strauss. This penultimate segment began with strobes in the centre, then spreading out to encompass the width of the lake with orange smoky fireballs, flash-pots and spark sprays. Then crackling comet candles with salute shells above, followed by the thick charcoal comet and bright star candles. Barrages of glitter mines were followed by shells of fireflies in yellow and then shells of rings and pistils, turning from blue to red. Next, shells of tourbillons followed by glittering comet shells with crackling mines below. The segment was brought to a close with huge ring and pistil shells.

Part 13 to the music Firebird by Igor Stravinski. The final segment began serenely with a Niagara Falls set-piece. As the pace of the music increased, candles of silver comets with very bright stars were followed by glitter mines. Then shells of rings above, with shaped-burst Saturn shells and large multi-coloured bombette candles below. The pace increase with barrages of multi-coloured shells, cluster mines and large silver kamuro shells. The pace increased still further, with shells of multiple clusters of stars, salutes, gold kamuro shells, huge crackling shells, the pace relaxing for a moment as the display was brought to a close with silver kamuro shells, trailing all the way to the lake.

This was a very enjoyable display and a fantastic start to the competition proper. The shaped-burst shells were particularly brilliant, going far beyond simple rings or hearts, with complete smiley faces, a cat, a man with a hat, a face wearing sunglasses (some of these weren't clear from where I watched, but others I spoke to saw them). The colours used were also excellent, as were the multi-colour changing shells. Synchronization was flawless throughout and the music flowed pretty seamlessly, making it difficult for your reporter to keep track! It appeared that there may have been a shell with lines of stars on parachutes (technically, not allowed in the competition), though this may have been in the imagination of the audience. Hopefully, this excellent display will not be penalized for this. All in all, a very enjoyable and artistic display.


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