This program explores the variety of styles and forms encompassed by the word "concerto" from the violin virtuosity of Tartini to the collaboration of flute, oboe, violin and bassoon in the chamber of Vivaldi. The program also includes a piece by Veracini and one of only four orchestral suites written by Zadok The Priest - Various - The Gramophone Awards: Excerpts From The Prize Winning Recordings Of 2009 (CD). For tickets, call or visit cityboxoffice. A collaboration with On Site Opera, "The Tell-tale Heart" will have a semi-staged setup by director Sarah Meyers, who has worked with the Metropolitan Opera as stage director for over a decade.
Gregg will also perform his appropriately-named cello sonata "Undercurrent" with Roman. Unison Media's acclaimed Crypt Sessions is a concert series presenting intimate performances in the underground crypt beneath The Church of the Intercession in Harlem, NY. The program includes Kallor: "Undercurrent" for cello and piano and "The Tell-Tale Heart" for voice, piano and cello world premiere.
African Heritage Symphonic Series, Vol. III CD review. Paul Freeman, Chicago Sinfonietta. Cedille Records CDR There are four good reasons listeners may be interested in this disc from First, it continues the Cedille Records series of classical music by contemporary African American composers.
Second, it's very naturally and realistically recorded. Third, it contains some darned good music. And fourth, it's always a pleasure hearing the work of the late Paul Freeman and the ensemble he founded and conducted for so long, the Chicago Sinfonietta.
The album comprises about an hour's worth of material by four different composers. The opening piece is called Global Warming by Michael Abels.
It's an exceptionally rhythmic and harmonic work, synthesizing Irish and Middle Eastern musical styles into a surprisingly coherent and entirely satisfying and entertaining whole. It is typically mid-twentieth century in its greater emphasis on atmosphere than on melody, although there are some good jazz-inspired tunes to be found if you listen carefully, especially in the third movement.
The cellist is Katinka Kleijn, and the mood is mostly melancholic; but, interestingly, the Sinfonietta's accompaniment contains no cellos. Containing an abundance of percussion, the piece was originally a part of a longer production, but the composer thought, rightly so, that it could stand alone. It's kind of a fun exercise in "Name that instrument. Then, the disc concludes with Generations: Sinfonietta No. The composer based each of its four movements loosely on descriptions of his own family: daughter, mothers, grandson, and fathers.
Each movement uses one or more folk tunes combined with original melodies. The work is fascinating if slightly fragmented and sometimes repetitious. The playing throughout is scrupulously meticulous, and Maestro Freeman is affectionate in his handling of the tunes. The whole affair is a testament to his the conductor's elegant sensibilities and innate sense of fun. Cedille's sound, as always, goes for a natural hall ambience while occasionally overlooking ultimate transparency. Instruments sound best when they're isolated, and massed orchestral tones tend to get just the tiniest bit muddled.
Nevertheless, the sound is easy on the ears, more pleasant sounding than most new recordings, and will have listeners recalling their last live concert.
Which I count a very good thing. Sono Luminus SLE Here, I make a confession: Until auditioning this album, I had never before heard a cello ensemble. Indeed, I no idea what to expect from a large cello ensemble, what their tone or sound or level of expertise would be.
Nor were any of my expectations very high, and the disc lay on my living-room shelf awaiting a listen for some weeks as I kept putting off what I thought might be a chore. Then I did listen. To say that the Northwestern University Cello Ensemble exceeded my wildest expectations by a mile would be an understatement.
To say that the performers and their performances exceeded my expectations would be an understatement. And to say that the recording quality exceeded my expectations would be an understatement. This one goes down as a clear entry in my list of favorite recordings of So, what is this cello ensemble all about?
According to the disc's accompanying booklet, the Northwestern University Cello Ensemble was "established by artistic director and Northwestern University cello professor, Hans Jorgen Jensen. This unique and memorable event inspired the continuation of the project and the decision to record this debut album.
Augmenting the twenty-one alumni referred to above are dozens more, the booklet naming about fifty-eight cellos, seven basses, a guitarist, a percussionist, and a harpist, depending on the piece of music.
They make a glorious sound. The program consists of eight selections, the first one in three movements. The agenda is as follows: Zachary Wadsworth b. Yet the modern material is hardly raucous, nonharmonic, or atonal. Appropriate to the mellifluous sound of the cello, Maestro Jensen has chosen music that complements the instruments, and most of it is quite beautiful, gracefully rhythmic, flowing, and satisfying. Among the album's few tunes that sound at all "modern" is Michael van der Sloot's Shadow, Echo, Memorywhich tends to be a bit more ambitiously experimental than the other items on the program.
However, Van der Sloot fully utilizes the potential of the cello band, providing it with every opportunity to show off its range of possibilities.
So, within its almost ten-minute structure, we hear slow and fast segments that are both dark and light, impressionistic, emotional, and visual. I was sorry when it ended.
The Cello Ensemble performs them all wonderfully, and the music seems to exude an even more-profound mood than ever coming from such a large body of cellos. Congratulations to producer Hans Jorgen Jensen and recording, mixing, and mastering engineer Christopher Willis for the excellent work they did. There is a realistic clarity to the music, by which I mean it sounds natural, with just the right amount of ambient bloom to give the instruments a lifelike appearance.
There is also a truthful scope to the group's dimensionality, filling in all areas of side-to-side and front-to-back perspectives. With a wide, well-balanced frequency response and strong dynamics, Zadok The Priest - Various - The Gramophone Awards: Excerpts From The Prize Winning Recordings Of 2009 (CD) sound comes across as I would imagine it might in a live performance.
It is a complete and utter pleasure listening to it. Puccio 1 comment: Email This BlogThis! Classical Music News of the Week, September 17, This focused exploration includes the composer's iconic The Rite of SpringSymphonies of Wind Instrumentsand Agon on October 8; and on October 9, a re-creation of one of the opening concerts at Zellerbach Hall, when Stravinsky was in attendance, in May of Symphony of Psalms and Oedipus Rex.
Salonen and the orchestra also perform Beethoven's Symphony No. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall, atat calperformances. For more information about discounts, visit calperformances. This is the only one of Beethoven's concertos Philharmonia has not previously performed. The musical "aviary" that Beethoven included in this work will sound particularly unique when performed by PBO.
Period wind instruments provide different colors than their modern counterparts. Their use in this concert will undoubtedly add a richer sound as well as a more historically accurate interpretation of this masterwork. This season opener can be seen October throughout the bay area. For tickets, visit cityboxoffice. For Green Center tickets, please visit gmc. Tour Embark on U. In international demand for their exceptionally integrated sound and rare musical versatility, the Danish String Quartet return to the United States in October for a twelve-concert tour.
Since making their debut in at the Copenhagen Festival, the group of musical friends have demonstrated a passion for Scandinavian composers, whom they frequently incorporate into adventurous contemporary programs, while proving themselves to be skilled and profound performers of the classical masters.
Gabel will also head to Asia for a performance with the Seoul Philharmonic. The three-year residency, beginning this month, will comprise a new work composed by Mr. Gordon each year to be workshopped by the choristers and Artistic Director Francisco J. Gordon's residency will also include another new work composed for YPC's younger children, YPC's Satellite Schools children, and its community choruses; as well as masterclasses for YPC singers; and his participation as an artistic advisor.
The residency commences this season with the world premieres of two works commissioned from Mr. Gordon's second commission will be workshopped with YPC and Mr. The Emerson Quartet continues to perform with the same benchmark integrity, energy and commitment that it has demonstrated since it was formed inand its 40th Anniversary season reflects all aspects of the Quartet's venerable artistry with high-profile projects and collaborations, commissions and recordings.
In the words of Gramophone magazine, "They have achieved — and maintain -- their exalted place in the hierarchy of American quartets for good reason: at this point in their career, the Emerson's members understand as second nature the importance of clarifying the specific character of individual phrases and balancing them all into an elegant whole, and they can turn on a dime to create quicksilver variations of mood.
The Recital Hall opens its doors for the first time this month with a weekend of dedicatory events, and the UC Davis Department of Music's free Thursday noon concerts will be inaugurated in the new state-of-the-art hall on September 29th by the American Bach Choir. A free event, there are bound to be many wishing to attend, especially considering how exciting it will be to hear choral music performed in the new space.
ABS Music Director Jeffrey Thomas has chosen a superb program drawing from composers of the 16th through the 20th centuries. For more information, visit americanbach. The concert highlights new contemporary vocal works including the world premiere of Meyer's "Space In Chains. EMI 5 2 3. While many other classical record companies had cut back severely on their output or curtailed production altogether in the early 's, it was reassuring to see EMI maintaining a healthy monthly release schedule of new and reissued material.
Of course, the company would finally turn over its catalogue to Warner Classics, but in this case, their reissued stuff was among the best there was. Now, Warner Classics have made this reissue available on their own label, although you can still get it new on the older EMI label if you look around for it.
Anyway, the album in question is all about Maestro Herbert von Karajan, who did most of his recording during the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties with DG but always keep his ties open with EMI, having signed a contract with them all Zadok The Priest - Various - The Gramophone Awards: Excerpts From The Prize Winning Recordings Of 2009 (CD) way back in the Forties.
He continued working with EMI almost exclusively through the Fifties and sporadically thereafter. While the earliest overtures and intermezzi contained on this album derive from andmost of it is from the early 80's. As usual, Karajan played them with his somewhat Romantic, glamorous, grandiose touch, the thematic qualities of the music sometimes playing second fiddle to the sheer beauty of the sound. It's what Karajan did best and why he was one of the most-popular conductors of his time.
With bits like Anne-Sophie Mutter playing the violin in Thaisthe old magic returning in Hansel und Greteland the Berlin Philharmonic at their peak, the collection remains a surefire crowd-pleaser. Instead, the EMI sound is slightly bright, fairly open, and reasonably transparent. Surprisingly, perhaps, I found the oldest recording on the disc sounding the best, the rendering of Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture. To my ears it is the most realistically ambient, with its stereo spread the widest, its depth of image the most noticeable, and its resonant hall sonics the most clearly captured.
And as with almost all newer remasterings, there is virtually no background noise to contend with and no appreciable loss of high end. In all, then, this is a pleasant collection. JohannWeber. While the Italian operatic soprano Mariella Devia b. This album, fromappears to be among her best, at least sonically, which is why I suppose JVC chose to remaster it in in their XRCD audiophile series.
It's hard to argue they didn't make a worthy choice. Devia on the first three items and the orchestra itself taking over the purely orchestral reins of the final number. I was not familiar with the Italian orchestra, founded innor the conductor, but they seem well up to the task, the somewhat smallish ensemble sounding fluid and transparent.
The first selection is Mozart's Exultate, jubilate "Exult, rejoice"KV, a religious motet Mozart wrote in for solo voice, orchestra, and organ. Divided into four parts with alternating slow-fast movements, it may remind the listener of the composer's symphonic works but on a smaller scale.
Devia's voice is airy and confident, and her rendering of the Andante is particularly felicitous. It, too, is a piece of liturgical music, this one a little more ambitious than the preceding work, Mozart writing the Regina for soprano, choir, orchestra, and organ.
Mozart based it on one of the Catholic Church's four seasonal "Marian antiphons of the Blessed Virgin Mary," typically sung at night prayer. Here, the orchestra plays a more-prominent and dramatic part, too, with the mid-bass a weightier factor and the choir adding to the gravitas of the affair. Indeed, the soprano's solo contribution to the music doesn't even appear until the second movement, where Ms.
Devia remains in lovely voice. After that are two brief works, Laudate Dominum "Praise the Lord" for soprano, choir, orchestra, and organ; and Ave verum corpus "Hail the true body" for choir, orchestra, and organ. Of these, I preferred the second item for its celestial grace and beauty. Mariella Devia To close the show, we get what may be Mozart's most-familiar piece of music, the Serenade No.
As there are probably different recordings of it in the catalogue at any given time, the competition is intense. This version under Maestro Callegari is as good as most, although there is nothing much different about it to distinguish it from most of the others.
In other words, it moves along at a stately, fluent pace, unhurried, unruffled, and unremarkable. What is remarkable is that JVC can produce so meticulous a remastering as this one while at the same time making it so hard to get the disc loose from the center spindle. I mean, you want the disc to fit tightly, but not so tight that you practically break the disc in two trying to get it out. The rest of the JVC packaging, though, is immaculate: A glossy, hardcover Digipak-type design; liner notes bound to the inside; the disc fastened tightly to the inside back.
Of course, the folks at JVC pick only what they feel are the finest recordings to remaster, so I'm sure this one started out sounding pretty nice to begin with. Their remastering has clarified what was undoubtedly already good, clean, solid sound. On my system, however, I thought the voice was a little too bright for my ears, as was the entire upper midrange, although it certainly illuminates the sonics considerably, which never actually become hard or edgy.
The rest of the aural spectrum appears equally clear, with especially quick transient response and realistic spatial dimensionality if favoring the left side of the stage a bit much. Overall, this is very lucid sound and should please many audiophiles, even if the price for it is rather high. Labels: DeviaMozart. Classical Music News of the Week, September 10, The trio of Ma, Meyer, and Thile--who alongside Stuart Duncan made their first appearance at Cal Performances in as part of the eclectic Grammy-winning Goat Rodeo Sessions, which blended bluegrass, jazz, and classical music--returns to the Greek Theatre as a new ensemble, re-imagining Bach's chamber works for its inventive instrumental configuration.
The concert at the historic Greek Theatre is followed by a gala dinner to benefit Cal Performances' education and community programs. Ma, Meyer, and Thile have each spent a lifetime with Bach's solo works—in Thile's case, recording and performing the solo violin partitas on mandolin, and in Meyer's case, showcasing the double bass in the unaccompanied suites for cello.
Meyer's recordings have set a new standard for double bass solo performance on this repertoire. And the New Yorker praised Thile's solo Bach recording: "His timing is meticulous--no one can play top-flight bluegrass whose timing is uncertain--but his version also has the liveliness that improvising musicians sometimes can bring to written material.
For more information about discounts, go to calperformances. The benefit concert will feature some of opera's brightest national stars and musicians from throughout Florida. Internationally-renowned David Charles Abell will conduct and legendary baritone Sherrill Milnes will be one of the evening's hosts. Some great individuals and organizations have stepped forward Opera Orlando and its partners in this benefit concert have selected Central Florida organizations that work to build understanding of our region's diversity and address the interpersonal challenges that many people in their community face every day.
The American pianist intends to record key works from his repertoire, thereby preserving insights gained over the course of a career that began in the mids and continues to flourish as he approaches his 70th birthday next April. His move to Deutsche Grammophon follows an exclusive association with Sony Classical and its predecessor Columbia Masterworks that began in This significant new partnership, destined to deliver interpretations of the highest artistic calibre to the DG catalogue, will be launched this autumn with the release of Bach's French Suites.
Perahia has always felt a great affinity with the music of Bach, having played some of his pieces since childhood and been powerfully influenced by a performance he attended at the age of fifteen of the St Matthew Passion conducted by Pablo Casals. He also found solace in studying the composer on a daily basis during a period in which illness prevented him from playing. He sees the French Suites as "Bach on the highest level," adding, "I don't think Bach wrote one note that didn't have wider meanings and that wasn't to be tackled with all one's heart and soul.
An artist of Murray Perahia's stature joining Deutsche Grammophon at an advanced stage in his career is not without precedent. During the s, CBS Masterworks lost the two greatest pianists signed to the label at the time, when both Rudolph Serkin and, shortly afterwards, Vladimir Horowitz decided to entrust their mature years as recording artists to the yellow label, with now legendary results.
Proceeds will help support Orion's performances and outreach efforts to young musicians. After the performance, guests enjoy lunch and have an opportunity to help choose encore performances of works Orion has performed by buying votes for their preferred selections. The musicians mingle and chat with guests in this intimate setting. This event offers Orion fans an extra chance to enjoy the Ensemble's music while supporting its work.
Each concert program takes place at three locations: Geneva, Evanston and downtown Chicago, Il. For more information, call or visit orionensemble.
Performances are Saturdays, October 15, March 4, and April 8 at 8pm; and Sundays, October 16, March 5, and April 9 at 3pm, with free pre-performance talks preceding each concert. Half- price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. Adam: La jolie fille de Gand, complete CD review. Andrew Mogrelia, Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
Marco Polo 8. Labels: Adam. Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue CD review. Also, Prokofiev: Concerto No. HDTT, remastered.
Julius Katchen was an American concert pianist who died of cancer just a few months after recording the present album in One would never guess from the recording how ill he was; most of the music reveals the vigor and vitality of a man in more than good health. Yet, things happen. The celebrated Jewish-Hungarian conductor in the work, Istvan Kerteszwould himself succumb to a drowning accident a few years later.
So, in a way, this is a sort of memorial to both artists and a fitting tribute to both their talents. First up on the program is Rhapsody in Bluewhich as you no doubt know bandleader Paul Whiteman persuaded American composer and pianist George Gershwin to write back insuggesting he make a jazz-inflected showpiece for Whiteman and his orchestra.
When Gershwin initially declined, saying he didn't know enough about orchestration to do the work justice, Whiteman assured him that he could get Ferde Grofe to arrange it for piano and orchestra. As everyone knows, Gershwin's fusion of classical and jazz became a musical phenomenon. Katchen's version of the piece with the London Symphony may not be quite the lean, mean classical jazz Gershwin intended, though. It must be like the feeling of revelation that they had when they restored the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, this is very much a sacred process guided by the musicians.
What are the challenges you face making music at a professional level with a student ensemble? There is a moment that I usually wait for in each rehearsal, that moment during which I see the students singing with joy priority number 1!
Their first concert was with the greatest choir in the world, the Tallis Scholars, and since then they have appeared with members of the Monteverdi Choir, the Gabrieli Consort and the Kammerchor Stuttgart. Hilary Apfelstadt, our program is unrivaled in Canada. Tell us what the recording sessions were like. Recording sessions were intense and yet the singers and I found them to be greatly rewarding.
For some of these young people, this was their first professional recording yet instead of hearing doubt or hesitation, you can hear their excitement. To be sure, the Musikalische Exequien is a complex piece and there were certainly times when I asked myself why I had set such a monumental task before all of us.
However, they answered this challenge by lifting the music to a higher level. Recent Reviews: Dripping with beauty and style, they establish their seriousness from the off - Buxtehude's passacaglia meditating on Christ's sacrifice and continue it through Johann Christoph Bach's aching strophic death aria. The choir shows its youth in a light and pleasing sound. This snapshot of 17th-century German sacred music is a heartwarming and worthy one. Gramophone February The most recent recording of the Theatre of Early Music TEM and the Schola Cantorum entitled The refuge of heart, published by Analekta, offers images of peace and serenity like many pearls on a unlikely necklace.
Of course, great baroque music is made up of a large and varied repertoire and perhaps we should not be surprised to hear such beautiful interpretations. But what sets this album apart from many others is the care taken by the conductor and artistic director of the Theatre of Early Music Daniel Taylor and his research and selection of composers and works.
This may be first time on one recording that the well-known figures of Dietrich Buxtehude and Johann Christoph Bach cousin of the father of Johann Sebastian Bach are paired with rare compositions by lesser-known composers Johann Kuhnau, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and Nicolaus Bruhns. The purity and depth of what is offered to the listener is made even better by the impressive cast of soloists: the mezzo-soprano Rebecca Claborn, countertenor Kyle Guilfoyle, tenor Isaiah Bell and bass Alexander Dobson deliver inspired performances and the impression of a contagious spirituality.
In perfect harmony with the chorus and soloists, musicians of the TEM show guided restraint required for this type of repertoire in which the voice and text must occupy the largest share of the listeners focus - the particular sound of old instruments is offered here in all its flavour.
The thoughtful, unhurried work immediately transports us elsewhere and for quite sometime. Such music, such purity! Thank you Mr. With a new album from the Analekta catalog, entitled Refuge of the Heart, featuring the Theatre of Early Music TEM and Schola Cantorum under the direction of Daniel Taylor, we dive a little deeper inside the heart and soul of contemporaries of one of the most turbulent times in history, that of the 30 Years War seventeenth century.
True to its mission to rediscover old music, TEM and its founder and artistic director, Daniel Taylor, revealing here five gorgeous cantatas by German composers of the Baroque era, all together in one album.
These German cantatas were constantly renewed by the great Italian masters of the Baroque. This repertoire covers a breadth in time of 4 centuries. Between anda series of devastating wars decimated half the population of Europe. If believers found refuge in their faith and their hope for a better world, the composers of the time found an endless source of inspiration.
During the seventeenth century, Lutheran musicians created a magnificent repertoire of sacred music. Death and deliverance All this reflects the emotional landscape for those that were brought face to face with the horrors of war and destruction. A non-profit organization, the TEM's mission is to allow early music to shine in all its glory.
The excellent musicians share their passion alongside prestigious guests, through their series of concerts in Canada and through touring nationally and internationally France, Argentina, Brazil, England and Asia in particular. Under the baton of Taylor, the Schola Cantorum of the University of Toronto - the elite of students of all levels - are guided by a desire to make known early music in its original version, joining the TEM to offer us a brilliant and authentic presentation, Zadok The Priest - Various - The Gramophone Awards: Excerpts From The Prize Winning Recordings Of 2009 (CD).
Restoring the works of great masters so that they regain lustre in our eyes, Daniel Taylor and musicians from TEM are meticulous in their work, this is an offering that reveals every dimension of humanity. Listen to this album, it is like rediscovering an old world in a new light. Concerto in the form of a German Requiem Mass 3. Motet: "Herr, wenn ich nur dich habe" 4. Canticle of B. Praetorius: "Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin" J. Aria soprano : "O heilige Geist- und Wasserbad" 7.
Aria tenor : "Jesu, meines Todes Tod" Juno Nomination for The Heart's Refuge! Schmelzer, Johann Heinrich Harmonia a 5 4. Gramophone February The most recent recording of the Theatre of Early Music TEM and the Schola Cantorum entitled The refuge of heart, published by Analekta, offers images of peace and serenity like many pearls on a unlikely necklace.
Ottawa-native counter tenor Daniel Taylor tells Peter Robb a little bit about the service and a performance of the music he is delivering on Dec. What an interesting project. On the BBC, a shining example of what the CBC could be with proper management and effective government support, 30 million British citizens tuned in to watch a Coronation Festival. In our current political climate, in a time when there still exists inequality in our society, when child poverty continues to go unnoticed by our ruling government, as our population ages I feel more and more the need to bring music to people.
Please tell me about how you researched the music and the ceremony? I traveled to Westminster Abbey, to St. We know that there are no indisputable documents that detail a specific order of service for the Coronations. To celebrate the ascension to the throne, a magnificent service full of pomp and ceremony was planned.
The commissioning of new music was usually entrusted to the Composer and Organist of the Royal Chapel, however with the unexpected death of William Croft, the King appointed "Mr. Handel, the famous composer to the opera. Their festive character brought the works great popularity, the performances being hugely successful and have been played ever since, Handel re-used excerpts notably in Deborah and Ester.
Zadok the Priest has been sung at every subsequent coronation and was traditionally performed, as it will be in our concert, during the anointment of the King. Any interesting stories to tell about the coronation music that you uncovered? It is to some extent that we owe some thanks to Sir Frederick Bridge for his decision to shed a light on the best of the British composers.
On receiving his commission as Director Music, Bridge courageously decided to make a coronation a celebration of years of English music including works by Orlando Gibbons, Henry Purcell and Thomas Tallis alongside compositions of the day. Tell me about your upcoming performance. Just as Choirs were combined for the major events, so do we bring together 60 young choristers and musicians.
Presented as a mock crowning ceremony, the concert opened with a sonata for two violins by French Baroque composer Jean-Marie Leclair.
It was jauntily played by Cynthia Roberts and Adrian Butterfield He conducts from a deeply spiritual place and coaxed a fresh, mentholated sound out of the largely student choirs, with crisp if not entirely Westminster diction. Organist Matthew Larkin provided grand, spacious accompaniment. The singers showed admirable focus despite loudly popping speakers and hacking audience members. The coronation on Queen Street concluded with two kingly Handel works. Taylor took Zadok the Priest - the most famous of the four Coronation Anthems - at a more sedate tempo than many early music specialists.
It had nobility Bach Cantatas for Trinity Sunday: "The final concert of each festival has traditionally been choral works by JS Bach and this year was no exception. The second piece was also a cantata for Trinity Sunday, written inone year later than the previous work and using a larger orchestra and larger chorus.
The audience had its first taste of percussion and brass with the arrival of three natural trumpets. The second cantata, BWV Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott Praise be the Lord, my God was a more powerful piece and introduced the audience to more of the soloists from Toronto whose interpretation and delivery was excellent throughout. The interval allowed the audience to enjoy their drinks outside in sunny weather with a growing feeling of expectancy for a second half that promised much.
As the full visiting choir entered the small church, the audience tensed in anticipation of hearing one of their favourite works performed by a relatively unknown assembly of musicians led by their new ish Musical Director, Adrian Butterfield.
There was no disappointment. The singers and orchestra delivered an excellent performance that shook the foundations of the small village church. There was good attack in the choruses and excellent solo singing. Adrian Butterfield has now delivered two excellent festivals for local music lovers.
The quality of the playing and idiomatic styling were to be the rule for the entire program. The first of the Anthems was perhaps the most familiar, "Zadok the Priest. The singing that followed was uniformly excellent, boasting all of the core technical values including balance, blend, precision and intonation. Next came "How beautiful are the feet of them who preach the Gospel of peace" from Messiah, nicely sung by soprano Agnes Zsigovics.
Zsigovics is familiar to most followers of vocal music in these parts, and her rendition on Saturday did not disappoint. Then there was the anthem "The King Shall Rejoice" sung by the chorus. Once again the performance was entirely apt and beautiful. The final anthem, "My Heart is Inditing," was the most elaborate of the four. In the first place it has four movements, making it the longest of them. Also, it is the only one to employ chorus and soloists. It integrates them well and made for an especially pleasing conclusion to the concert.
It was a splendid performance; one can scarcely imagine a stronger way to open a festival. The round trip, at about two hours, was longer than the program, so the musicians played it over and over again. The sun, meanwhile, never changed its tune, beating down in steady time on the musicians, who were all dressed in black and stacked like rum barrels in the one shaded part of the vessel.
No tickets were sold for the voyage, so the audience was ashore, on both sides of the canal. A large group of spectators on foot, inline skates and bicycles - a musical pelaton - moved along in pace with the ship. There were people in kayaks and on stand-up paddle boards and there were big cruisers The woodwinds and horns raised one another into a brilliant, reedy thing that does indeed sound like it was written to be played on water.
It is also, for me at least, somehow essentially British, even if Handel was not. A set of excerpts from the oratorio Solomon telling the story of the two women claiming to be the mother of one baby was nicely rendered by Argenta, Gauvin and Taylor. The next set was drawn from four different oratorios.
Then along came Daniels singing Waft her Angels from Jeptha. It is a glorious aria, and it received a glorious performance. The second half of the program was even better than the first, beginning with a finely blended duet with Argenta and Taylor and an aria from Rinaldo sung by Argenta alone. As always, the Theatre or Early Music orchestra played beautifully throughout the evening. This matchless ensemble was a joy from beginning to end. It was incredible to find that while each soloist was unique, possessing a timbre, expression and tone all their own, they combined as a chorus into a superbly blended unit.
Taylor moved seamlessly from conductor to countertenor soloist in the role of the evil Sorceress. He subtly led a seven-piece baroque orchestra including lute that was impressively authentic to the period.
Aeneas was fittingly tall, dark and handsome; British-Canadian baritone Alexander Dobson truly living the part. Moving with dramatic conviction, he wooed Dido with his impressive range -- a delightfully rich low register and surprisingly sweet ease up top as well. His flawless enunciation made the lyrics jump off the stage. Taylor transformed himself from conductor to Sorceress by unleashing his mop of wavy hair and adopting a wild-eyed facial expression. With deliberation and intense audacity, he put forth his distinctive voice in the soprano range, but with timbre and texture that are purely Taylor.
His divinely voiced cohorts, witches Meara Conway, soprano, and Meg Bragle, mezzo, were deliciously conniving, chuckling over their conspiracy. Her clean, assertive style sets her apart. The epitome of control, the chorus ended this mesmerizing performance with a gossamer sadness that left the audience silent, until they erupted into a much-deserved standing ovation. The lesser roles were well served, mostly by members of the chorus, about which more needs to be said.
Before the opera there was a set of three a cappella items by Tallis and Purcell. The performances were exemplary with fine blending and balance, solid intonation and admirable ensemble. The choral contributions to the Dido and Aeneas were of similar mettle, although they were accompanied.
The orchestra of seven baroque instrumentalists did extremely well. La distribution est excellente. Les musiciens qui les accompagnent, satisfaisants. Ce fut un grand moment musical dont on se souviendra longtemps. The concert opened with the ethereal voice of Daniel Taylor floating over the crowd from the back balcony of the church.
Zsigovics also shone in Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, naturally shaping each phrase with her clear, round voice, accompanied by the elegant, lush playing of oboist Matthew Jennejohn. This concert was the perfect antidote to a grey Sunday in November, breathing joyous life into sacred works of music to warm us as winter sets in.
The first half of the concert included some early music standards and folk song favourites such as I will Give My Love an Apple and Down by the Sally Gardens. It is wonderful and rare to hear these well known simple tunes receive such care and sensitivity by a seasoned artist. Daniel Taylor shared the music with Agnes Zsigovics who supplemented the program with solos and duets with Daniel.
Agnes is a promising soprano with a haunting early music style and I hope to hear much more from her in the future. The second half of the performance was devoted to the music of Handel and Jordan de Souza was allowed to shine on the piano with the rousing Harmonious Blacksmith Variations. Daniel Taylor brought the house down and his hair! Even the greatest voice will sing in vain if it is not owned by a good musician, but Kirkby is among the best.
Their playing was, as usual, so elegant Kirkby and Taylor sang it to perfection, providing the most beautiful moments of the evening. In this new album, Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor brings together his favourite collaborators in his Theatre of Early Music for a rich, track sampler of all things musically Shakespearean. Of course, we get the title song, performed this time by tenor Charles Daniels instead of Taylor. Taylor sings solo for eight of the songs, including the gorgeous opener, "By Beauteous Softness," set by Henry Purcell and accompanied by Elizabeth Kenny on lute.
Although the selection of songs covers all moods and occasions, the preponderance is for introspection, if not outright lament. And no one does this as well as Taylor these days.
Kenny is a pleasure in a solo Galliard by John Dowland. Charles Daniels is given the title track and Emma Kirby adds a light-hearted flavour to Now what is love? Taylor is a star of classical music who established the Quebec-based Theatre Of Early Music a decade ago that often records baroque, Elizabethan music.
A few other singers help out as well, but Taylor consistently steals the show on this lengthy classical disc. There are extensive liner notes making this a musicologists dream release and the few heavenly instruments with lute, viola, theorbo and bass makes this a delightful listen that harkens way back to the antiquities of popular song of the day.
Taylor sings beautifully" It was not only vigorous and well-proportioned and was notable for, among other things, the insistence upon certain key words and phrases. The concluding chorale, "Gloria Sei Dir Gesungen" was a solid and pleasing ending. The other was a recitative. Then, after the regular program, Taylor sang an encore that I didn't recognize. It was indescribably beautiful. Essential to the overall success of both Zadok The Priest - Various - The Gramophone Awards: Excerpts From The Prize Winning Recordings Of 2009 (CD) were the well-disciplined chorus and orchestra of period instruments.
The most dramatic singing of the night was "Cara sposa, amante cara" from Rinaldo; it had a truly grand quality to it, as did the duet from "Caro, Bella" from Giulio Cesare.
LeBlanc and Taylor created a gorgeous sound together, a final reminder of how beautiful the Baroque can be in the hands of masters, and an extraordinary ending to an extraordinary concert. William Byrd, Palestrina and others. Taylor has assembled a brilliant chamber choir, and the singers never sounded hard or shrill, even in some killer high notes. The concert hall is full to capacity. She arrives on the scene with her flowing blond hair and soft, beautiful smile like a picture from a baroque painting.
Her voice is clear, supple and the words and music seem to be a very part of her being. Daniel Taylor offers his solos with a sense of interior sincerity and he is in top form. The musicians accompany with a precision, informed understanding and style. The Theatre of Early Music band is small just single strings and simple continuo but its playing never feels underweight, and rhetorical qualities in the music are clear yet unforced.
Taylor's intelligent and stylish singing belongs in a select class alongside a few of the finest and sweetest voices of its type. The Theatre of Early Music is a small band - two violins, a viola, cello and bass, with lute and organ - but its tempo decisions and internal balancing are both exemplary.
Articulation is crisp - note the cleanly articulated cello line - and the timbral qualities of the string are auspicious.
Rhythms are buoyant, and the expressive qualities of the music are held in fine balance. To turn to specifics, the Quis est homo is rendered with delicate refinement, a legato melsima of real eloquence. Daniel Taylor evinces no sense of forcing his counter tenor, and no glorying in its very obvious qualities for the sake of it; some other counter tenors should take note. The tempo for the slow Fac ut ardeat is judged to perfection, with its sense of motion ensuring that the textual meaning is perfectly conveyed.
Here, in the Bach setting of the Pergolesi Stabat Mater, Taylor is joined by Emma Kirkby and their rapport is obvious, the voices well blended, and as before the reflective sense of the chosen tempi conveys a great deal.
The depth and pathos are everywhere apparent. With first-rate surround-sound recording and a warm ambience, this is a disc not to be missed. Emma Kirkby joins Daniel in pure emotional harmony and the listener can only marvel at this degree of interpretation - recommended!
All in all, this is one of those satisfying releases that come along occasionally, those with a bit of a twist that are unified around one theme. The preformances are lovely, which should be no surprise, given the names of the performers.
Taylor's period-instrument Theatre of Early Music backs him quietly, with perfect sensitivity. A compelling program, in top-notch renderings. His approach to the piece is gentle, with pure-toned pianissimos and floating cantilenas exuding a kind of exquisite despondence. Because of the different words, Bach's Psalm 51 is rich in a variety of emotions from tearful poignancy to joyful celebration, so Kirkby and Taylor are able to exploit a bewitching spectrum of tonal colours.
This is an inspired and unusual compilation of Baroque sacred music, truthfully recorded with an intimacy which allows the singers to communicate directly with the listener. Selfless and inspiring music-making, despite its often poignant tone. Taylor even let his hair, normally worn in a ponytail, down to enhance the effect. When he sang in trio with the two witches, Meara Conway and Alexandra Hill, the results were most gratifying. Aeneas has less stage time, but bass Alexander Dobson made the most of what there was.
His gloriously dark and powerful voice was one of the highlights of the production. When you consider that he is a member of the Theatre of Early Music Chorus, you begin to understand why said chorus is so good. The opera was preceded by a short concert of early music featuring vocal and instrumental works His voice is rich, smooth, and lyrical, and it is deployed to maximum effect in music that seems to reflect the almost sensuous approach Bach took to the depiction of religious contentment.
The overall effect is lovely and increasingly hypnotic as you listen longer. Taylor and his cohorts here are fresh and technically facile in equal measure. Beautifully recorded, and strongly recommended. Here, he returns with a selection of airs, duets, choral and instrumental pieces by J. Bach, joined by lyric soprano Agnes Zsigovics, and choir and instrumentalists of Montreal-based Theatre of Early Music.
Without You (Jazz-N-Groove Vocal Dub), Seelenwandler (Junk Project Remix) - Blade Attack - Seelenwandler (Vinyl), Ueto Aya* - Ayaueto (CD, Album), Diminishing Returns (Extended), Flux Of Time, El Rubio Loco - Libre (CD, Album), Hanna - Bless (CDr), Move On Baby - Cappella - Best Of (CD), Love Queen Boogie Part 2