Festival Bach Montréal: Hear Concerts Anywhere on New Streaming Platform

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This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)

The Festival Bach Montréal opens its 2020 proceedings on Nov. 19 in St. Joseph’s Oratory, or in your living room, depending on your point of view. The program gathering four organists and the Schola de l’Oratoire starts at 7:30 p.m., or whenever you like – again, according to taste.

The annual celebration of the great J.S. is going online and has built a new digital platform – Québec Baroque or www.quebecbaroque.com – to make it feasible.

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“Québec Baroque offers you the opportunity to catch up on many of its performances several days after their initial broadcast,” reads an online introduction to the new service.

Many presenters are grappling with the challenges of online performance. FBM is in an unusual position because of the variety of artists it offers and its several venues.

The gala opener, focused on the mighty Rudolf von Beckerath organ in the vast upper sanctuary of the oratory, could hardly be less like the next evening’s offering, a program of Bach sonatas by period flutist Mika Putterman and fortepianist Gili Loftus in intimate Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel.

The next concert, on Nov. 22 in the same locale, again offers a contrast, as harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour performs Bach’s Trio Sonatas BWV 525-530 with  cellist Juan Sebastian Delgado and Krystina Marcoux on the marimba. You might want to look again at the last word of the previous sentence. Yes, marimba. Delgado and  Marcoux have enjoyed success recently as the offbeat duo Stick&Bow.

On the following night the action moves to Bourgie Hall as Nicolas Ellis and his Orchestre de l’Agora perform works by Corelli and Telemann and Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3. Bourgie is the setting for all- or mostly-Bach programs by pianist Anna Saradjian (Nov. 24, Italian Concerto), violinist Kerson Leong (solo repertoire on Nov. 25, including the Chaconne), the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal under Andrew McAnerney (Nov. 26, the six Motets).

The festival then summons its own orchestra on Nov. 27 to the Maison symphonique under Jean-Claude Picard for a program including the joyous Cantata No. 51 with soprano Anna-Sophie Neher and the more sombre Cantata No. 56 with baritone Stephen Hegedus.

Cellist Stéphane Tétreault deals with the Cello Suites over two nights (Nov. 30 and Dec. 1) in the “Off-Bach” space at 3487 St. Laurent Blvd. Back in Bourgie Hall on Dec. 2 the pianist Serhiy Salov changes the subject by playing Brahms’s Op. 10 Ballades and his own transcriptions of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and excerpts from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. On Dec. 6 Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Orchestre Métropolitain and its chorus bring it all to a conclusion in the Maison symphonique with Bach’s Mass in B Minor.

Needless to say, the artists are predominantly from Montreal. There is an interesting exception: the Italian pianist Filippo Gorini, who on Nov. 29 will perform Bach’s The Art of Fugue in the National Cinema Museum in Turin, Italy. 

Why not? It is an online world.

Most concerts cost $9. The presenting sponsor of FBM is Canimex.


This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


About Author

Arthur Kaptainis has been a classical music critic since 1986. His articles have appeared in Classical Voice North America and La Scena Musicale as well as Musical Toronto. Arthur holds an MA in musicology from the University of Toronto. From 2019-2021, Arthur was co-editor of La Scena Musicale.

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