Early Music Montreal

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I Musici

What a person has to do, sometimes, to hear some Early Music!! I just came home from the I Musici concert. The first half of the concert featured works by Webern and Brahms. I enjoyed the small orchestra. It is so much easier to hear the separate parts. This is a polished orchestra and it is a pleasure to listen to them. The Webern was new to me and took me time to acclimatize my ear to the sound. The Brahms was lush.

For me, the second half of the concert was why I was there. Handel. Daniel Taylor and Meredith Hall warmed the hall with their wonderful voices. Suzie Leblanc was supposed to be singing, but Meredith Hall was a last minute replacement. I always enjoy hearing Dan and Suzie sing together. Their voices match so well it is like one voice singing in harmony with itself. Meredith Hall's lovely voice was a great replacement. Though of a different quality than Suzie's, Meredith Hall's voice is wonderfully suited to Baroque music. I Musici did a nice job with the accompaniment, but I much prefer an Early Music ensemble. Having heard Dan and Suzie sing the same repertoire earlier this year, it was easy to see some differences.
  • First of all, having a conductor was distracting. I realize this is opera repertoire and in perforance there would be a conductor - but not quite so centre stage. I also get a sense of ensemble playing more with Early Music Ensembles. With no conductor, they have to listen to each other.
  • At times, the orchestra played too loud. There is nothing like hearing Dan start from nothing in Cara Sposa and build the sound slowly. Some of the feeling was lost with the orchestra covering up some of the effect.
  • Unlike Kaptainis, I love the warm sound of Baroque instruments. I found the modern instruments a bit too strident in this context.
The two soloists captivated the audience. I particularly liked the three pieces from Giulio Cesare. Dan's Domero la tua fierezza was fiery and it was impossible not to be moved by the duo, Caro! bella!

Daniel Taylor - you never cease to move me, delight me and seduce me with your voice.
Meredith Hall - you won me over when you sang with La Nef. This concert only confirmed this.