Early Music Montreal

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Arion: Haydn et Mozart

I love to watch Jaap ter Linden conduct. From his first hop onto the stage to the end of the concert he exudes energy and warmth which transfers into the music. The concert began with Symphony #6 by Haydn "Le Matin" I'm not used to hearing classical music from Arion, but it was a nice change. It is delightful to hear this music played by a small orchestra. Each voice can be heard well and the sound is crisper. The horns added a mellow warmth and it was nice to have the variety of colours of the full wind section. Claire Guimond's flute sounded pure and bright. Jaap ter Linden doesn't over conduct. His small motions and smile get him what he wants. It is wonderful to watch him as with a twitch of his hand he gets the musical effect he was going for. In parts of the minuet, he stood back and let the musicians lead the way.

Haydn's Lamentations symphony followed. I find this an odd title for the piece. While there was some feeling of wailing, most of the time the music was upbeat and lively - not my idea of lamentation. However, the music was enjoyable.

After the intermission, six musicians played Ein musikalischer Spaß by Mozart. This piece is meant as a joke. It is classical "camp". Every musical cliché, has been thrown in, in Mozart's attempt to parody other composers of his day. The music is reminiscent of PDQ Bach's works. Despite the mediocre score, there were parts that were nice to listen to and Chantal Remillard played some virtuosic sections. However, the joke went on too long for my liking. I got it - now move on. However, it is possible some movie scores were inspired by this piece. I heard horse whinnies, simplistic themes and other elements common in music for the screen.

The Mozart Concerto number 5 for violin was a highlight of the evening. Olivier Brault was the soloist, not Manfred Kramer. There was no announcement as to why the change was made. Olivier is very much at home in the classical era. He dresses the part. Olivier has a wonderful singing tone In the second movement his playing seemed to float above the "earthly" orchestra.
The à la Turque feeling was particularly evident in the third movement. At times the string players slapped their bows onto the strings. Olivier demonstrated a virtuosity in the cadenzas and it was nice to see the communication between him and Chantal as he reached the end of each one.

A concert worth being at.