Early Musicby Philippe Gervais
/ September 1, 2012
Flash version here.
First, two Italian music concerts at Bourgie Hall this fall deserve our attention. On September 15, Ensemble Caprice performs a program devoted to the feminine voices that inspired many of Vivaldi’s religious works and developed from their album, The Return of the Angels. www.ensemblecaprice.com
In another return, Italian violinist Stefano Montanari, who proved to be breathtaking in 2010 in Arion’s Quatre Saisons, tackles even rarer violin concertos (Lidarti, Locatelli and Maddalena Sirmen). We bet that he will sell the value of this forgotten repertoire (October 12, 13 and 14). www.arionbaroque.com
Also featured this year will be 18th century French music. At Bourgie Hall, Clavecin en concert will launch its season on September 30 with a concert based on Jean-Philippe Rameau’s cantatas, featuring soprano Hélène Guilmette et baritone Philippe Sly, winner of this year’s Jeune Soliste des Radios francophones and Montreal International Music Competition. Despite Rameau’s renown, his cantatas are largely unknown. The concert will be preceded by a lecture on the cantatas, which will be the subject of a CD. www.clavecinenconcert.org
The Compagnie Baroque Mont-Royal, a new ensemble in the Montreal early music landscape, will also present a French cantatas concert on October 28 at Westmount Park United Church. David Menzies, who proved that his light tenor voice was ideal for this type of performance in the title role of Rameau’s Pigmalion this spring, will be part of the lineup. www.mtlbaco.wordpress.com
Finally, harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour’s François Couperin recital should not be missed (November 2, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, www.clavecinenconcert.org), nor the viola duo Les Voix humaines, which has also chosen Couperin, as well as works by Marais and Corrette, to perform on November 8 at Bourgie Hall). www.lesvoixhumaines.org
The sixth edition of the Montreal Bach Festival will be held from December 1 to 13. The program includes Philippe Herreweghe’s Montreal debut. He will bring Collegium Vocale Gent’s choir and orchestra as well as soloists Dorothee Mields, Damien Guillon, Thomas Hubbs and Peter Kooij with him. The six cantatas of the Christmas Oratorio will be featured. This performance will reveal if the large Maison symphonique can handle the softer sounds of period instruments; while the jury’s still out, it’s best to choose seats close to the stage (December 12 and 13). The other distinguished guest will be Italian conductor and harpsichordist Fabio Bonizzoni, who will accompany the musicians of La Risonanza, with whom he has recorded 30-something albums, including seven magnificent cantata volumes by Handel with Glossa. Actually it is La Risonanza that will perform the festival’s opening show, with Bach all’italiana, when we will hear two profane cantatas as well as the Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, which spotlights the flute (December 1, Bourgie Hall).
One of the Bach Festival’s strong points is that it does not focus solely on the J.S. Bach. During the festival, one can explore 17th-century German cantatas with Masques (December 11), Telemann and Vivaldi concertos with La Rizonanza (December 2) or concertos by Bach’s sons with Arion (December 7, 8 and 9). There will also be Handel’sCoronation Anthems with the Theatre of Early Music (December 9). www.festivalbachmontreal.com
For those who haven’t gotten their fill during the festival, the Idées Heureuses has invited Suzie Leblanc to sing Bach, Graupner and the little-known Zachow (Handel’s teacher) a few days after the festival, The concert will be preceded by a lecture by Gilles Cantagrel (Bourgie Hall, December 16). lesideesheureuses.squarespace.com
In September, as part of the International des musiques sacrées, the capital will host English visitors at Saint-Dominique church: the Tallis Scholars (December 10) and Emma Kirby (December 8) will perform a medieval music program with the Theatre of Early Music. Furthermore, Les Violons du Roy will devote the lion share of their fall program to early music, inviting, among other acts, French sopranos Sandrine Piau for a recital of opera arias by Mozart and Handel (November 2, Palais Montcalm; November 3, Maison symphonique). www.violonsduroy.com ; www.imsq.ca
Translation: John Delva