Browsing: Baroque and Early

Chansons d’amour d’Acadie et de France – Chœur Louisbourg, dir. Monique Richard ; Skye Consort This album offers a happy musical reflection of publications of recent decades. The Acadian folk songs are from compilations published in 1988 and 1996. Musical style range from the languor of Écrivez-moi to the light touch of Moine Simon. The Louisbourg Choir, directed by Monique Richard, lends rich tone and consistency to these songs, whose harmonies have been carefully chosen to give them a traditional sound, complemented by the instruments of the Skye Consort: recorder, chalumeau, rauschpfeife, cittern, violin, nyckelharpa and cello. Jacotin Le Bel’s songs complement a…

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French Music at Bourgie Hall Once again this year, several great names in early music will grace the stage of Bourgie Hall. French baroque repertoire at its most intimate and refined takes a place of honour. Most notable is the concert by Jordi Savall, who will recreate the original soundtrack of the film Tous les Matins du monde (Feb. 16 and 17). Unfortunately, both concerts are sold out, but those without tickets will be able to attend a free screening of the film (Feb. 9) in which Gérard Depardieu tries his hand at the viola da gamba and the role…

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The problem with Clementi is that there are no standout works. Where most famous composers write a couple of pieces that are gripping enough to be an entry point to their output, the London-based Italian just wrote and wrote more and more sonatas at roughly the same level of invention, leaving the new listener no idea where to start. Opus 33, published by Longman and Broderip in 1794, is not a bad door-knocker. Clementi employs many of the same devices as Mozart – a seductive melody, a secondary detour and several strong teases before he delivers a resolution. There’s nothing…

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There’s a debate going on among agents as to whether it is better for an artist to have an exclusive record contract or to work across several labels. Alisa Weilerstein, who has made outstanding recordings of the Elgar, Dvorak and Shostakovich concertos for Decca, has now popped up on a Dutch label with the two Haydn concertos and Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night. Pentatone is a terrific label, run by former Philips professionals. This ought to be a top-drawer recommendation. Why it isn’t is a matter of some perplexity. Weilerstein dispenses with a conductor for these pieces, which is not unusual. But…

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Did you know Handel wrote a St John’s Passion? Me, neither, and I’m still not convinced. This score was discovered in the Berlin Royal Library in the mid-19th century by the authoritative Friedrich Chrysander and included in the even more authoritative Halle Handel Edition. But there have always been doubts about dates and style. The credited librettist, Christian Heinrich Postel, died of consumption in Hamburg in 1705, when Handel was 20. Handel knew Postel’s work and may have asked for a text, but Postel worked mostly for Telemann and if he found time at all for Handel it would have…

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Averse as I am to teenage prodigies, I heard Daniel Lozakovich in a Berlin nightclub this week and had no doubt from the first touch of bow on string that he is the genuine article. Sixteen years old, raised in Stockholm by Kazak-Russian parents, he gives the impression of belonging nowhere but some deep place inside himself. Fresh from a sleepless night on a bench in Tokyo airport where his flight had been cancelled, he draws energy – as the great ones do – from an audience. No-one breathed on the dance-floor during his Bach Partita. His DG debut recording…

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Earlier this year, when Ottawa’s Music and Beyond festival announced that its 2018 roster would include a concert of works written and conducted by acclaimed British composer John Rutter, ticket-buying activity exploded across North America. Within 90 seconds, a two-ticket order from British Columbia augured the continent-wide deluge to come. “We were selling tickets faster than anything else we ever released in our history,” recalls the festival’s founder and executive and artistic director, Julian Armour. “I thought, ‘we’d better see if we can offer another performance.’” Armour quickly contacted Rutter, along with the three choruses involved, and members of his…

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Toronto, May 23, 2018 … Tafelmusik Board Chair Helen Polatajko announced today that William Norris has resigned from his position as Managing Director, his last day being July 4, 2018. Mr. Norris will be relocating to London. Ms. Polatajko also stated that Tafelmusik will immediately form a search committee and engage a search consultant to begin the process of appointing Tafelmusik’s next Managing Director. “Over the past three years, William Norris has skillfully steered Tafelmusik through a period of profound change for the organization. During his tenure Elisa Citterio was appointed Music Director, and Tafelmusik has continued to build its stature as a global leader in…

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In times of stress I reach for Bach in the raw, one instrument, one pair of hands. I’m choosy who I listen to when the nerves are frayed. The immortal interpretations – Gould in the Goldbergs, Milstein in the Sonatas and Partitas – are too profound, too perfect, to afford prompt and gentle relief. Two new releases are just what the soul doctor ordered. Peter Hill is an English pianist, a Messaien expert who studied with Nadia Boulander and taught at the University of Sheffield. I have come across him on record and radio, never in the concert hall. His…

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Domenico Scarlatti: Sonatas, volume 1 (Chandos) It feels dangerously transgressive, and thus all the more enjoyable, to listen to Scarlatti’s keyboard pieces on a full-throated Steinway D piano set up in an English country barn. Why musicians submit so readily to the tyranny of political correctness – composers to the imposition of serialism, performers to the doctrines of period practice – is a mystery to me. So to find a young pianist at the start of his path who is prepared to defy the professorial rule makers and play a Bach contemporary on a modern big banger of a concert…

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