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2000 l'International Benson & Hedges Montréal Pyromusical Competition Report

Spain Ethnology Wednesday July 19th, 2000

Pirotécnia Caballer, designed by Rafael Garcia Barat, Pyrodigital firing including traditional Spanish time fuse delays

"Having garnered four Jupiters in as many visits, this illustrious company from Valencia is used to dominating the Montréal sky. These Spanish masters rely on music from such diverse sources as Mike Oldfiled, Peter Gabriel and Mozart to examine the world's cultures. Among the featured Spanish composers are Granados, Albéniz, Calle and Falla."

As the summer of disappointment continues, at least the weather was dry as the crowd hoped that the estimated 6000 shells used in the display would warm them up! Special new pastel colours, in development for ten years, were on display for the first time with all the material used constructed by Pirotécnia Caballer. The firing method used both direct use of Pyrodigital and the use of Pyrodigital cues to ignite traditional time-fuse based delay trains. A small narration from The Little Prince preceeded each of the nine tableaux, giving a pyrotechnic voyage through cultures of over thirty five minutes.

Part 1 to the music The Last Temptation of Christ by Peter Gabriel. After the opening narration, the display began with blue nautic flares which ended up throwing blue stars into the air. Then groups of three silver glitter comets from the left, then right, in time to the music. Next, mines of tourbillons and bright blue stars followed by the same in shells above, with more mines below. This theme repeated and was followed by rockets bursting to flashes of orange and clusters of slow-falling stars. Then the lake front opened up with vertical lines of white strobing lances, with red nautic flares in the lake with shells of red above and then shells of fireflies. The sky became filled with fireflies. Next, glitter comet candles with volleys of red peony shells above and then shells with red stars and blue pistils and shells of silver comets. Then more really large red and blue pistil shells and shells of red turning to blue then to silver, the segment coming to a close with shells of silver comets with blue pistils and a barrage of titanium salutes.

Part 2 to the music "Live at the Acropolis" by Yanni. After the narration, this segment began with strobe pots at the back of the display area. In front, lemon-yellow note-synchronized mines, then in green and then in orange. Above these, rockets bursting to orange flashes. Then a front of green mines and another, with a barrage of salutes above. Then rockets bursting to green flashes, a front of yellow mines and then more rockets of green flashes. A front of orange mines, then several more and larger followed by the same in green and then shells of pastel green above with the same in note-synchronized mines below. A move to pastel pink with shells and mines and then the same in the flash rockets. Next, silver ball shells with orange pistils with mines in the centre of the display and then more pastel colour shells above. A return to the troubillon and colour mines and shells, then segment coming to a close with volleys of bright pastel colour shells.

Part 3 to the music Introduction - Sabrina from the film Sabrina. After the narration, a line of pastel star shots opened up followed by note-synchronized glitter comet shots left and right, following the piano notes of the music. Then a mixture of glitter comets and star shots, again to the notes of the music. This continued for a time and then shells with glitter pistils opened up with more of the glitter comets and star shots below. Then shells of green go-getters followed by shaped-burst shells of five-pointed stars surrounded by rings and a shell with a central ring surround by five smaller rings. Then shells of go-getters in orange. Then a return to the theme of pastel star shots with green go-getter shells above. The pace and intensity increased with the final volley of go-getters - in pastel colours - turning into sky-filling fireflies at the end.

Part 4 to the music The Marriage of Prince Igor by Alexandre Borodine. After the narration, this segment opened dramatically with multi-break shell-of-shells in gold comets and then same in nautic mines. Then blue shells and blue nautic mines and shells of go-getters above. Then pink nautic mines, followed by blue shells and nautic mines. Next, orange ball bursting to green bombette candles. Then a return to the repeating theme of volleys of pastel coloured shells with the same in nautic mines below, then pastel go-getters with comets and then blue shells and nautic mines. This theme repeated several times. Next, candles of silver stars and whistling tourbillons and then fast candles in pink and orange. Above these, barrages of titanium salutes and shells of colour flash followed by multi-break charcoal comet shells, more colour flashes and titanium salutes, with barrage after barrage moving to shells of blue with tourbillons and the same in mines. Then another barrage of salutes followed by a huge barrage of kamuros, completely filling the sky with the segment coming to a close with a fantastic front of huge mines of charcoal comet bombettes.

Part 5 to the music Moon River by Henri Mancini. After the narration, seven red girandolas rose majestically into the air, then sank somewhat, and rose up again on a column of white sparks. Then another group, then another, and another and another until I lost count. Some were in red, some in green, all rose, then fell, then rose on either silver or gold glitter sparks to enthusiastic applause from the audience. I later discovered that around sixty girandolas had been fired! After these, candles and shells in a very pale pastel white followed by shells with a rising star bursting to red hearts and then green hearts. Then a huge brocade shell and shells of clusters of brocade, the segment coming to a close with a huge one trailing all the way to the ground.

Part 6 to a pot-pourri of Mexican music. After the narration, this segment opened with mines of colour and tourbillons and then mines in green and orange followed by mines of blue with tourbillons and the same in shells above. Then mines of dazzling blue and then green. Above these, shells in blue and green and then fronts of crackling glitter. Next comets firing to the right in glitter with blue heads, then the same to the left followed by silver glitter comet shells and candles and the same in multi-break shell-of-shells followed by the same in very pale white-gold with the stars turning to slow-falling twinklers. This was followed by several vertical wheels in silver with coloured lances in their centres. After these had completed, shells of blue and mines of the same followed by the same in green, then blue then green again. Then shells and mines in pastel colours then back to blue and green returning to the blue mines with tourbillons with the same in shells above. The segment was brought to a close with barrages of very large shells with rising tails and pistils, filling the sky.

Part 7 to the music Amapola by J.M. De La Calle. After the narration, this segment began with pale lemon-yellow headed comet candles and bombettes. Then shells in orange with pistils and a dazzling bright green and then multi-colours. Then candles of pale silver ball clusters with white ball shells above. Then thick pale white comet shots below with brocade shells above and bomettes at mid-level followed by kamuro shells with pistils. This theme from the thich pale comet shots onwards repeated and was followed by rising tail brocade shells with the stars turning to green. The segment was brought to a close with barrages of kamuros, but the stars wiggled, the final barrage being of wiggly tourbillons, completely filling the sky.

Part 8 to music from the film Conan the Barbarian. After the narration, nautic red flares lit up in the lake as note-synchronized flame projectors moved along the lake as the red flares became white strobes. The flame shots moved from left to right as rising tail shells bursting to huge comet with crackling pistils as the flames continued beneath. More barrages of huge shells of glitter and colour with pistils as the flames continued beneath. Then more huge barrages followed by lots of fast ball candles below and followed by huge charcoal comet turning to blue shells above. Several barrages of these were fired followed by all sorts of bright colour shells as the flames continued. Barrage of nautic mines and barrages of enormous colour shells and shells of sky-filling tourbillons brought the segment to a close.

Part 9 to the music Turandot by Puccini. After the narration, this final segment began with shells of charcoal comets turning to colour. More and more were fired, all of the huge. Then massive shells of pastel colours and starfish comets, with barrage after barrage of these. Then a line of massive silver fountains, floating on small platforms in the lake opened up as the pace increased with mines, sky filling barrages of all sorts of colour and pistils shells. The pace increased still further with the sky blooming in flowers of dazzling colours. Then barrages of massive salutes, and then even larger barrages of salutes bringing the display to a deafening conclusion. For the final couple of minutes, all I could write in my notes was WOW!.

This was, once again, an excellent display. The range of material used was simply fantastic with just about every possible pyrotechnic device ever conceived, with the exception of crossettes. The nautic devices of all types were magnificent, as were the dozens of girandolas and it's always nice to see rockets! The colours used were quite amazing, especially the dazzling blues, brilliant lemon-yellows and other pastel colours who's names I don't know. Synchronization in this display was good on the whole, though there were a couple of spots where shells kept firing after the music had stopped. It is now so hard to judge - each of the last four displays has been Gold Jupiter material. At the end of each one, from Italy, through USA, Australia to Spain, people I was standing with have said, "That was number 1". What a treat we've had this year!


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