Browsing: Baroque and Early

John Blow: An ode on the death of Mr Henry Purcell (Hyperion) For a brief window in the 1690s – until the night Mrs Purcell shut her husband out in the cold – London was the go-to place for young composers in search of top tuition and an appreciative audience. Italians like Arcangelo Corelli were keen to study with Henry Purcell and English composers grew in confidence. Then, one November night in 1695, Mrs P decided not to stay up til her old man got back from the theatre and poor Henry caught cold and died, or so the story goes.…

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Cecilia and Sol: Dolce Duello (Decca) Cecilia Bartoli, mezzo Sol Gabetta, cellist I am about to break another of my hard-and-fast rules. A while back, I swore never to give another three-star review as long as lived on the grounds that such things are cop-outs for critics who cannot make up their minds, one way or another, about the recommendability of a record. One way or another, I stand by that judgement. So why the exception? The present album brings together the super-mezzo Cecilia Bartoli, the highest-selling diva on record since Callas, and Sol Gabetta, an Argentine cellist of mostly…

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To mark the 30th anniversary of the ­ensemble Les Idées heureuses, which she founded in 1987, Geneviève Soly is ­tackling her favourite project once more: bringing the virtuoso harpsichordist and composer Christoph Graupner, one of the great contemporaries of J.S. Bach, out of obscurity. November 19 at Bourgie Hall, 30 years to the day that the ensemble performed their first concert, Les Idées heureuses will ­celebrate their anniversary with a benefit ­concert that pairs Johann Sebastian Bach and Christoph Graupner. These composers are the backbone of the ensemble’s repertoire and the particular favourites of its director, the ­harpsichordist and musicologist…

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The Montreal Bach Festival opens on November 17 at the Maison Symphonique with a performance of Bach’s ­monumental Mass in B Minor by Collegium 1704, an acclaimed early-music group based in Prague. The Mass summons a month of ­performances devoted to Bach and his ­catalogue, his contemporaries, and his ­influence on the composers of our time. Collegium 1704’s Montreal ­appearance — the Canadian debut of this élite fifty-member choir and instrumental ensemble — is ­intended in part as a celebration of the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation. This Canadian performance, which has been years in the making,…

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When the Prague-based orchestra and vocal ensemble Collegium 1704 opens the Bach Festival of Montreal with Bach’s Mass in B Minor on November 17, its founder and artistic director ­Václav Luks believes that audiences should ­expect something different. Luks says that “listeners are accustomed to hearing performances of the B Minor Mass which are reflections of the choral practice of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Bach wanted neither a choir of a hundred voices nor one singer per part. Instead, his ideal was 2–4 singers per part.” The vocal ensemble of Collegium 1704 counts only 19 members. Bach’s Mass in…

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Ever wondered how Handel only needed 24 days to compose the celebrated ­oratorio Messiah, which has become a Christmas tradition world-wide? It turns out that the then 56-year-old Handel was on the verge of bankruptcy, which may have spurred him on, despite the fact that he was ill from a stroke at the time. This back story was dramatized by marketer Pierre Audet in The Brilliant Resurrection of Mr. Handel, a musical narrative on the creation of Messiah. Its successful premiere in spring 2011 by the Chœur Radio Ville-Marie has inspired a ­second staging, this time by the McGill ­Chamber…

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A Handel mash-up and an international co-production comprise AtG’s most expansive season to date TORONTO – Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) returns in its eighth season with BOUND, a pastiche workshop of new interpretations of Handel’s music, and a groundbreaking new production of Berlioz’s arrangement of Glück’s Orphée. AtG’s acclaimed #OperaPub nights return as a monthly fixture at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club, and the company collaborates with Canadian baroque-pop artist Kyrie Kristmanson at the Alliance Française in Toronto. In addition, AtG enters its second season as company-in-residence at the Canadian Opera Company (COC). This December, Artistic Director Joel Ivany and Music Director…

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“Weil and his [Tafelmusik] players convince us that Beethoven can sound as radical in the 21st century as he must have done in the 19th” — Gramophone Magazine Toronto, September 7, 2017 – Tafelmusik is thrilled to present its recordings of the complete Beethoven symphonies, six CDs packaged in a striking box set. Recorded under the direction of guest conductor Bruno Weil over a twelve-year period, Tafelmusik’s cycle marks the first time a North American orchestra has recorded all nine Beethoven symphonies on period instruments. Tafelmusik’s complete Beethoven symphonies will be released on CD on the Tafelmusik Media label starting September…

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Julie Boulianne, mezzo-soprano; Clavecin en Concert; Luc Beauséjour Analekta AN2 8780, 59 min. Canadian singer Julie Boulianne has quickly become an international star. She performs regularly at the Met, at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and throughout Europe. She has an extraordinarily wide repertoire from Bach to Adès. In her latest recording she shows us what she can do in Vivaldi and Handel. For this CD she is joined by long-time collaborators, harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour and his small period instrument group, Ensemble Clavecin en Concert. Much of the music is pretty obscure but it is performed with enthusiasm and…

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The first half of the 2017-18 season offers an ample selection for Early and Baroque Music lovers. Here are our must-see concerts. Arte Musica The distinguished ensemble, Les Arts Florissants, in collaboration with the Club musical de Québec, will present Mantova, the second chapter of a trilogy devoted to the madrigals of Monteverdi. Conducted by Paul Agnew, the group will perform excerpts from Books IV, V, and VI, which embody the composer’s mature period. The ensemble will take the stage at Palais Montcalm on October 3, and at Bourgie Hall on October 4. www.mbam.qc.ca Under its new musical director, Jonathan…

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