Musica Camerata kicked off its 48th season with an evening of quartets for piano, violin, viola, and cello. Respected as a premiere Canadian chamber ensemble, Musica Camerata is justifiably proud of its longevity.
The concert was held in the resplendent Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur where the parterre seating area is usually hydraulically raised to provide theatre style seating. The roughly 100 attendees filled this venue. From this reviewer’s vantage point in the balcony, the acoustics were a little dry for a chamber string ensemble.
The instrumentalists on this program were Luis Grinhauz (violin), Victor Fournelle-Blain (viola), Bruno Tobon (cello), and Berta Rosenohl (piano). Founding member Luis Grinhauz has lived in Montréal since 1970, serving as assistant concertmaster of the OSM and has long been regarded as a highly respected teacher. Victor Fournelle-Blain has recently joined the viola section of the OSM while Bruno Tobon, a cellist at Montréal’s Conservatoire de Musique, demonstrated a degree of artistry that is remarkable for one who is still a teenager. Co-founder Berta Rosenohl has frequently played piano for the McGill Chamber Orchestra, Pro Arte, and l’Orchestre de chambre de l’Université de Sherbrooke.
The evening began with the Quartet in A Major, opus 26 by Brahms. This composition combines lyricism and rhythmic vitality in a manner emblematic of that composer. Musica Camerata segued to Fauré’s opus 15 C Minor Quartet. This Romantic style work is from the composer’s first period. The quartet, a sumptuous composition, is a gem of the chamber music repertoire.
Each player had thoroughly prepared for this concert. At times all performers reacted with insightful sensitivity to the nuances of their collaborators. In the first movement of the Brahms, there were passages in which the balance and rhythmic coordination between the violin and the right hand piano line were exquisite. Tobon’s cello timbre was lusciously resonant in this acoustic. To this reviewer’s ear, the tone quality of the hall’s piano is extremely bright. The overall balance of this concert may have been better served by having the piano lid at half-stick.
Montreal should be proud that Musica Camerata is a longstanding contributor to its cultural mosaic.
Viva Espana will be Musica Camerata’s next offering and is slated for 6PM on Remembrance Day, at Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur.