Early Music Montreal

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Ensemble Clément Janequin

Just a few quick comments. This was a delightful concert. Planned as a palendrome with the second half approximately a mirror image of the first, we were treated to love songs, hunting songs, sorrowful songs... The ensemble have a polished sound. They can be serious, playful and lyrical. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert.

Arion - Tra Roma e Napoli

Arion was joined by musicians from Il Concerto Suave, featuring soprano Maria Cristina Kiehr. She has a rich stong voice and sang for the greater part of the concert. The concert began with Correa Nel Seno Amato, a cantata by Alessandro Scarlatti. I did not find the piece that interesting. In parts it was quite repetetive. Kiehr's voice was particularly nice in the lower register. I found it less satisfying in the upper range of her voice.

The extracts from the oratorio Il Primo Omicidio were more interesting. It started with a beautiful solo violin part. The orchestra sounded great throughout. The concert could have used more variety in the selection of music.

Autour de la Flûte - autour de Vivaldi

This is the second season for Autour de la Flûte. It is delightful to go to a concert with so many young musicians. I have seen a number of them play with some of the larger ensembles (Arion, SMAM) and here they got to shine. The future of early music in Montreal is assured.

The concert opened with a concerto for quartet plus continuo by Evaristo Felice Dall'abaco, a composer I was not familiar with. It was a pleasant piece, well-played, but not extraordinary. This was followed by a concerto for flute and orchestra by Vivaldi: La Notte. Mika Putterman's playing is lovely. Her tone is pure and strong. Despite this, there were times when the other musicians overpowered her.

Pieces in the concert were interspersed with a solo flute rendition of "le Printemps" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, which was arranged by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. While it was beautifully played, I did not particularly like the arrangement. I missed the variety of textures of the string quartet and having just a melody instrument left holes in sections of the piece. That said - I was impressed with Mika's playing. Her fast passages sounded like more than one instrument was playing because of the different colours of the registers. I think this is probably an interesting piece to play, but it is not necessarily a concert piece.

This is a well balanced ensemble. I particularly liked the playing by the cellist, Karen Kaderavek in the Vivaldi Concerto for flute and orchestra. She provides a punchy continuo line.

I enjoyed the second concerto (no. 7 in C major) by Dall'abaco more than the first. It was nice to watch the interplay between the muscians. There was a tremendous sense of communication between the parts.

I am so impressed with Mika Putterman's playing. In the Vivaldi concerto for piccolo and orchestra in D major she played on a baroque piccolo. She creates a nice bright sound, each note clear and ringing. It is nice to know we have so many gifted young musicians in Montreal. I have lots of musical soirees to look forward to.