Early Music Montreal

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Festival - Meet CBC

I could not resist. I spent 2 hours at a concert, Délices du Nouveau-Monde which was simultaneously broadcast on CBC 1 in Montreal. Anne Lagacé-Dowson and Katherine Duncan hosted the show, doing short interviews but leaving a lot of time for the music. The show was really a sampling ( a buffet where we could taste a bit of everything) of the more accessible music of the festival. It began with Ensemble Caprice who featured short sections of what would be in tonight's concert - John Cage, Vivaldi and Piazolla - an eclectic mix, but with Matthias Maute's arrangements - it works. The Vivaldi excerpts were the first two movements of Spring. The langorous second movement brought me back a few years to CAMMAC where I took a class with Matthias and we worked on an arrangement of Spring for 4 recorders. It was a very hot summer and the practice hut we were in baked under the sun all morning in preparation for our 11:45 class. Despite the heat, it is an experience I will never forget. Matthias is a positive and encouraging teacher which brings out the best in all of us. I well remember Katie, playing bass recorder, trying to get the effect of the dog barking. The arrangement Ensemble Caprice played today, with a bassoon playing that part, was more effective!

It was amusing to be part of a radio audience. Our applause was directed (louder, softer, stop) Were we the fifth group of performers?

The second music ensemble to perform was Danse Cadence. They normally accompany dancers in traditional Québecois dances as well as Baroque Dance. Pierre Chartrand did some step dancing so the radio audience could hear his footwork, but mainly it was the musicians who performed. It is very hard to sit still to this music which is inspired by the folk music of Scotland and Ireland which emerged in the Baroque era.

La Nef and Les voix humaines along with Meredith Hall and Étienne Dupuis performed a few drinking songs. I felt very fortunate to have a ticket for the afternoon concert (review later)

Constantinople ended the concert with music of the Ottoman Empire of the 16th century and some medieval music. Their sound is wonderful, with instruments not often heard giving a different texture. Their music is at times hypnotic. I am looking forward to the (very) early concert on Sunday.