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L'International des Feux Loto-Québec 2008
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report

Austria Heaven and Hell Saturday July 26th, 2008

Pyrovision GmbH - designed by Christian Czech

Austria Comes to Montréal after Victory in Chantilly!

Montréal, Friday, July 25, 2008 - Buoyed by their recent win at the 16th edition of the Concours international de feux d'artifice de Chantilly (pyrotechnical competition), the Austrians are coming to Montréal to compete at L'International des Feux Loto-Québec presented by TELUS. Just over a month ago, Pyrovision GmbH won the Bouquet d'or (top honors) at the Nuits de feu (nights of fire pyrotechnical competition), beating out seven other European firms and one from Argentina. So, the Salzburg pyrotechnical experts - who breathed the same air as Mozart - should be treated with appropriate respect!

For Heaven and Hell, Pyrovision is offering a sound score that sometimes contrasts sharply with the work of the great Austrian composer. In fact, music from the heavy-metal group Black Sabbath will kick things off, depicting the "evil" aspect attempting to vanquish the "good." The Devil striving to defeat the gods and angels. Hell wanting to win out over Heaven. All this represents the theme of duality and alternance, as stated by designers Christian Czech and Beda Percht.

"We don't have a huge firm, he says. We're not here to produce the largest fireworks. Our aim is to create the most emotion because, in my opinion, the most important element in pyromusical shows is the emotion generated."

Since its first entries in competitions in 2004, Pyrovision GmbH has earned recognition from all over. Indeed, they walked off with the honors at Knokke, Belgium, and even twice won the contract for the celebration of the Kingdom of Bahrain's national holiday! Curiously enough, Pyrovision teamed up with Prestatech (the firm that launched the opening of L'International des Feux Loto-Québec presented by TELUS) in producing a show at MIDEM in Cannes in 2006.

The weather continued its unsettled theme and threatened to dampen spirits for this strongly themed Austrian display. With their award winning reputation, a lot of expectation awaited the debutants and the rains managed to hold off during the display itself.

Part 1 to the music Alone Again by Curt Cress. The display started approximiately 3 seconds early with a fan of starmine comets in the centre. Then a fan of mines of purple stars with gold glitter comets followed by start tipped gold glitter comet shots firing left and right. Intersecting fans of meteor comet sequences then fired across ramp 3 followed by fan sequences of mines at the left and the right - the out-of-sync issues causing me to exclaim "restart the show!". Triple fans of mines then appeared to by in sync causing speculation that everything may be OK after all. The sound of bells tolling lead into a narration as flares started to light up at the back of ramp 2. Flames were then seen spouting from ramp 4 as the bells continued to toll. The flames continued and then a burst of photoflash pots across ramp 3 announced the start of the next segment.

Part 2 to the music Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath. Flames lit up across ramp 3 and then ramp 4 followed by two mines and fans of star-headed glitter comets as the flames continued on ramp 3. A front of mines was followed by flames on ramp 5 and fans of red stars across ramp 3. Large flames continued to burn on ramp 4 as dim charcoal falling leaf shells burst above. Another volley of falling leaf shells eventually followed and then, after some time, another. A larger volley followed, the pace quit slow and drawn out. Shells of crossette comets with crackling pistils finally arrived with the same in candles below. This theme continued and was followed by a return to flames on ramp 3. Angled fans of gold glitter comets shot left and right as the flames continued to burn. These were followed by angled red star mines abd brighter gold falling leaf shells above as the mines continued below. Then red falling leaf shells followed by volleys of green shells turning to red strobes then red shells as meteor comets fired below. This theme continued. Suddenly the pace picked up as Z cakes of stars fired on ramp three together with star projects firing up and at angles at a rapid pace. These were then augmented by bombettes of red strobes and then shells of red above with crackling pistils. This theme continued and then cakes of screaming whistling serpents opened dramatically across ramp 3 together with cakes of salute-terminated serpents as the red shells continued above and mines of red stars fired below. Fast sequenced opening fans of red mines fired on ramp 3 bringing the segment to a close with shells ending in strobes above, to cheers from the audience.

Part 3 to the music Cantus in Memory of Benjamin by Dennis Russel and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestre. The sounds of bells tolling were heard as a tiny flare lit up at one end of ramp 3. Pairs of fountains then began to light up pair by pair across ramp 3, taking a good 30 seconds before they all were lit. These continued to burn for some time before a shell of strobing horsetails fired above. Then a pair of the same followed by a triplet. Then a group of 5 followed by a group of nine. The pairs of fountains started to expire as waterfall sticks lit up around the top of ramp 4. Volleys of small shells of falling leaf strobes then fired above and were augmented by double ascension glittering girandols. This atmospheric theme continued with further flights of girandolas as the small falling leaf strobe shells fired above. As another flight of girandolas took off, set pieces in the shape of red hearts lit up on the seven floating platforms of ramp 5 whilst the waterfall sticks continued their cascade of sparks from the top of ramp 4. The small falling leaf strobes continued above as the hearts continued their red burn below as the music moved to

Part 4 to the music Into the Pentagram by Samael Flames lit up behind each heart, one by one as they extinguished. Larger flame projectors then fired up on ramp 3 and then both ramp 3 and ramp 4. Gold fountains then lit up across ramp 5 as fires burned on the top of ramp 4 as the music moved to:

Part 5 to the music 1651 by Marduk. Clusters of pale gold comets then fired left and right on ramp 3 followed by a fan from ramp 4 as salute-termined star mines fired across ramp 3. The fires continued on ramp 4 and in slow sequence across ramp 3. Volleys of photoflash lightning shells then fired above with the occasional titanium salute. This theme continued and was followed by an X-shaped fountain on ramp 4 in deep gold as a large fire lit up there and across ramp 3.

Part 6 to the music Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 by Edvard Grieg. A line of wheels lit up across ramp 3 as the tone lightened with the familiar music from Grieg (some unfortunately stuck) with a horizontal wheel on ramp 4. Gold comet shells with strobe tips then burst above with the same in crossed candles below. This theme continued with a move to brighter pale gold comet shells and crossed clusters of the same below and gold falling leaf shells mixed in. Angled comets fired left and right as a cake of small comets opened on the top of ramp four forming a tree-like shape. Angled comets then fired inwards followed by large shells of charcoal comets turning to blue above. These were followed by willow comet horsetails turning to purple stars. Strobe-tipped broccades then followed. Next, cakes of fast stars horizontally and verticalled fired across ramp 3 with some small coloured falling leaf bombettes behind. This serene portion continued and was augmented by shells of bees above. Intersecting fans of stars fired from ramp 4 followed by glitter comet bombette fans across ramp 3 bursting to falling leaves and bringing the segment to a close.

Part 7 to the music Moxica and the Horse by Vangelis. A bright mine in the centre was supported by comet shots left and right bursting to smaller comets as a front of mines of glitter rose up. Nautic flares appeared on the lake from the previous comet shots and a fire lit up on the top of ramp 4 as well as a line of strobes across ramp 3. A fan of gold arcing comets fired up and towards the lake from ramp 4 followed by various fires across ramp 3. Mines of clusters of red stars then fired, first in a group of three and then a large group across ramp 3. Flames then lit up in sequence across ramp 3 and followed by the same on ramp 4. Shells of go-getters at a mid level and bees at a low level then fired as a fan of comet candles lit up in the centre below. This theme continued with brighter go-getters and a shell in the shape of a pentagram. Saturn shells then took over together with shells with large crackling pistils as crackling comets fired below. The shells of rings and crackle continued as mines of serpents opened up below. Bow-tie shells and shells of half blue half red then fired as well as diadem comet shells. The pace increased with shells of bright strobes added into the mix as well as crossettes and more rings and then larger colour changing shells ending in crossettes together with more saturn shells. As this continued, glitter comets fired below with more barrages of red crossette shells above, followed by large shells ending in deep coloured strobes. These were followed by shells of green with crackling pistils and shells of broccade comets and then a volley of white strobes and then another with a front of strobe mines beneath, bringing the segment to a close as the sound of bells tolling was heard again.

Part 8 to the music The End of Troy by Peter Valentin. Fires started to light up one by one on ramp 3. A fan of glitter comets turning to falling leaves then fired as a cross lit up on one position of ramp 5. After some time, another cross became visible as the bells continued tolling dolefully. The slow procession of crosses continued until eight were burning after a couple of minutes had elapsed. Eventually, crackling horsetail shells fired above, followed by another volley of the same. This funereal pace and theme continued as fires suddenly lit up behind two of the crosses, then three, then more (missing a couple) until fires burned behind all of them except the central two. Then a fire on ramp 4 alternating between fires behind some of the crosses. Large star shells then fired as broad fans of dense comets fired in three groups on ramp 3 below. The volleys of star shells continued with the comet fans below with shells of blue above and shells with palm comets. As the shells continued, fast fans of silver meteor comets fired below with shells of blue and shells of crackle with crossettes as well as shells with pistils. This theme continued and was augmented by mines of blue bees below as the pace of the volleys increased above. Mines of bright salutes fired below as well as the blue mines as the barrages of shells above increased with crossettes and then suddenly purple shells with gold twinkling pistils, bringing the segment to a close.

Part 9 to the music Hanging/Escape by Craig Armstrong and Stephen Hilton. After about 30 seconds crossed glitter comet candles fired across ramp 3. Diadem charcoal comet shells then were added. Next, dim bee-like horsetails at a slow pace as fans of dense charcoal comet mines fired below. The mine fans continued and were augmented by a sequenced kamuro mine fan in the centre as the two at the side also became sequenced kamuros. Above these, barrages of broccade shells as a larger comet fan fired in the centre below. A silver horsetail then appeared followed by a volley of gold horsetails as clusters of silver comets fired below. The silver comet clusters continued and were followed by comet shots converging in the centre. Clusters of crossette comet candles then opened across ramp 3 and were augmented by silver comet shells above with larger and larger barrages as a front of glitter comet mines fired below together with large silver broccade shells above. Volleys of multi coloured shells with pistils then started to fire as crossed star candles fired below. The star candles became dazzling white as the shells continued above with volleys of embedded salutes. Suddenly star projectors in red and blue fired in triplets below as gold comet to purple shells burst above. Cakes of broad fans of gold comets then added to the mix across ramp 3 as volleys of broccade shells fired above followed by a volley of titanium salutes and a front of dense comet mines and crossed gold comet shots, bringing the fireworks to a close as the music continued for a further 15 seconds or so to applause from the audience.

This was an enigmatic display in many respects which, unfortunately, missed the mark. Marred by the unfortunate synchronization error, there were other fundamental timing problems. Timing is a great tool to build suspense and of course, is the difference between a great comedian and a poor one. There were many periods during the display where the build up of an effect was just too slow and laborious, effectively breaking the desired intention and causing one to wonder if there were firing problems. This is a great shame because the theme was very interesting but there were just too many dead periods where there was little or no action. Unfortunately, as much as this is a fireworks competition, it is also a venue for mass entertainment and I fear that the many people outside of La Ronde, who were not able to appreciate the many low level effects, there was just too little material to create the sort of entertainment that is expected of displays in this competition. I admire the audacity of the Austrian team for attempting a different approach but I personally felt it just didn't work as intended. Having studied their winning performance at the Nuits de Feu in Chantilly earlier this year, it was quite surprising to see their Montreal entry so laboured in so many places in comparison. I understood the emotional aspect of the theme, but the moments of joy and uplift were too few and couldn't compensate for the heavy emotions of the many langurous sections of the display.


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