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.

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.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Les Idees heureuses

Unfortunately I could not be at the concert yesterday. I was playing a concert with Flutissimo. If anyone was there and would like to tell us about it, please add comments.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Early Music at CAMMAC

Anyone who loves Early Music can benefit from the Early Music Week at CAMMAC I have attended it many times. Unfortunately, I will not be there this year. I have had the privilege of participating in classes taught by the likes of Gilles Plante, Francis Colpron, Matthias Maute, Sophie Larivière, Natalie Michaud, Sylvain Bergeron, Guy Ross, Kiya Tabassian...... It is a joy to make music in such magnificent surroundings. Imagine, being in the woods in a practice hut with windows on 3 sides. What can be better? music and nature combined!

And then there are the concerts. A few evenings each week we are treated to concerts by the staff members. Memorable concers all, with not only the musicians mentioned above, but I have also had joy of hearing the best that Montreal and beyond has to offer - Daniel Taylor, Suzie LeBlanc, Margaret Little, Susie Napper, Bruce Haynes, Genevieve Soly, Laura Pudwell and so many more. All held in an intimate venue. This is chambre music at its best.

Someone sent this on to me so I'll add their plug:

100 km from Montreal CAMMAC 's Lake Macdonald summer music centre
runs for 8 weeks ; families and individual amateur musicians can holiday combining Laurentian conbining Laurentian lakeside
activities with musical classes and concerts.Early Music Week: July 3-10.

For more info call toll free
cammac.ca E-mail : national@cammac.ca

Gamba and Cello at the Montreal Baroque Festival 2004

Originally uploaded by susanvg.
To whet your appetite - here's a photo from last year. Gambas of course. Once again, Susie will treat us with her flair for programming.

Montreal Baroque Festival

Susie Napper let me know that the long-awaited programme for the Montreal Baroque Festival (June 23 - 26) will be available on the Montreal Baroque Festival site this afternoon. This amazing event features the best of Montreal as well as featured performers from around the world. I wouldn't miss it.

Recorder players and other musicians - don't forget about the parade. Susie sent this information out.
"Matthias Maute will join us again as the Pied Piper and lead us all in the first performance of his brilliant, newly composed Parade music! We hope there will be at least 100 recorder players of all ages this year as well as the FACE School drummers and the wonderful street jugglers.

We’re excited to announce that, in celebration of its 50th birthday, the Stewart Museum is sending an army of soldiers in 18th century costume with fifes and drums to join the Parade!

There will be a brief parade rehearsal at 6pm at the Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, 400, St Paul-East. Matthias Maute’s new round will be posted on the web next week at www.montrealbaroque.com. Ideally you’ll know all four bars by heart by the time the Parade starts. If not, you’ll know it by the end!

As part of the Grand Parade, Theatre Lavallière et Jabot and L’ensemble Caprice will perform Couperin’s “Passions”, a Comedia dell’arte, as part of the parade, in the Place Jacques-Cartier.

I am sure this will be as exciting as last year's Festival.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Concerts in May

Upcoming concerts include:
May 7 - Les Idées heureuses - Promenade à Ferrare.
May 12 - not all Early Music, but Daniel Taylor and Suzie LeBlanc will be performing with I Musici ( http://www.imusici.com/ ).
May 27, 28 & 29 - Arion with Manfredo Kraemer and Jap ter Linden (guest conductor)

A pitch for one of the ensembles in which I play: Flutissimo.
May 29 - Flutissimo will be performing at the Chapelle de Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours for Museum Day. You can drop in any time in the afternoon - stay a while and then go to see the other museums.

Hope to see you at a concert.

Montreal - Early Music Heaven

Unknown to many is the fact that Montreal is a hotbed of Early Music. I go to many concerts and cannot fit all the Early Music concerts into my schedule. Montreal is the home of: Arion, Ensemble Caprice, Les Idées Heureuses, Les Voix Humaines, Les Boréades, Masques, Les Voix Baroques, Constantinople, La Nef, Autour de la flûte, Société de musique ancienne de Montréal........ I'm probably leaving some out. Then there is the Montreal Baroque Festival and other concerts during the year. What a paradise!