Early Music Montreal

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Dan Laurin - solo September 16

Montreal Recorder Festival

After two days of over 30° temperatures the Birks Chapel was hot and humid. This was not the ideal atmosphere for a concert, but Dan Laurin rose to the challenge. He began with a medieval piece from the Medici Codex. Laurin shapes each note beautifully; his articulation is clear and precise. This was followed by a piece by van Eyck. Laurin has recorded the entire van Eyck collection and so should be perfectly at home with this repertoire and indeed he was. Laurin is a virtuoso player. He gets a variety of colours from his instruments and is able to play with dynamics, not easy on a recorder. At times the sound was fluid and languorous, his playing expressive. Despite the hot and humid environment his recorders spoke clearly and convincingly. in the Frans Air his articulation was so precise, at times it sounded as if it must be two recorders, one playing the quiet notes and another the accented ones.

It is hard to sustain a concert of solo recorder, but Dan Laurin mesmerized the audience. There was a nice variety of pieces from different eras. Laurin played two movements from Bach's cello suite in D minor arranged for recorder. This is no easy feat as cellos don't have to breathe. Laurin shapes a line of music beautifully. He did comment that Bach writes everything in "He leaves very little room for me."

In memoriam, by Äse Hedstrøm, was a very interesting piece, played on an instrument which was a cross between a recorder and a clarinet. It allowed for a wide possibility of dynamics. At times the tones were incredibly quiet and then grew. The piece required a variety of modern articulations, overtones.

The last piece of the concert was Les folies d'Espagne by Marin Marais. There were some slow passages of aching beauty followed by brilliant fast passages. Laurin plays with the sound of each note.

This was a wonderful concert!