Doors open at 6:45 pm. Pre-concert talk at 7:10 pm.
Ensemble Caprice (Montreal)
Chaconne! Voices of Eternity
In the baroque era, chaconnes, with their steady harmonic progressions, were associated with the concept of eternity. Composers from across Europe, including Bach, Falconieri, Merula, Vitali, and Rebel used the chaconne form to transcend the boundaries of time.
“The artists’ physical involvement and infectious enjoyment, conveyed through body rhythms and expression, were what music should always be about.” WASHINGTON POST
Death and the Maiden? Death and Arleccino!
Serenata con altre arie, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (1623-1680)
Serenata-Arlecchino-Adagio-Allegro-Ciacona-Campanella e Lamento, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer
Chaconnes of Heaven and Hell: Part I
Sonata sopra la Monica, Biagio Marini
Passacalle (1650), Andrea Falconieri
Aria di Fiorenza y sua Corente (1646), Carlo Calvi (Italy, 17th century)
Ciacona di Paradiso, et dell inferno, Anonymous (Rome, 1657)
Stories of love and solitude
Czech Folk songs, Anonymous (16th century)
Byl jest v Kunštátě
Ach mlynářko, mlynářko
Keby som já mala
Stuoj, formánku, nehýbaj
Proč, kalino, v struze stojíš
Jidech tam vedle řeky
Vij mi věnec
Zvolil jsem sobě
Chaconnes of Heaven and Hell: Part II
Ciacona, Tarquinio Merula (1595-1665)
Sonata seconda op.III,3 (1660), Johann Heinrich Schmelzer
Battalla de Barabaso yerno de Satanas (1650), Andrea Falconieri
Voices of Eternity
Lamentabile for 2 flutes, W.Fr. Bach
Chaconne BWV 1004 for 2 recorders and bc (arr.M.Maute), J.S.Bach (1685-1750)
Madmen and broken hearts
Two in one upon a Ground, Henry Purcell (1659-1696)
The Duke of Norfolk, or Paul’s Steeple (1684), Anonymous 17th century
A New Scotch Tune, Henry Purcell (1659-1696)
Budro, Anonymous 17th century
Fullmoon in Spain
La Jota, Santiago de Murcia (1673-1739)
Sonate op.I,12 La Follia, Antonio Vivaldi (1681-1741)
Music tells stories. What a simple statement – but how far-reaching are the consequences generated by the intrusion of fiction into music! The music of the 17th and 18th century was often conceived with a narrative or a particular situation in mind :
When J.H.Schmelzer in his Serenata con altre arie leads us through the whole cycle of carnival, including the dances, the comedia dell arte of arlecchino, and then subsequently the regrettable end of the festivities on Ash Wednesday garnished with a deathbell and a repeated lamento, we witness a whole story unfolding within a very condensed time frame. Whereas carnival lasted several days, the last sounds of Schmelzer’s serenata die away after just a couple of minutes. Evidently music can depict a whole world within a short segment of our life! It is no accident that many stories that we ourselves have been told when we were young start with an evocation of the 4th dimension : « Once upon a time… ».
Time and its mysteries have fascinated human beings throughout the evolution of our civilization. The notion of mortality versus eternity was and still is at the heart of most religions : We have organized our life down to the minute but at the same time we hope for eternity… However, interestingly enough, during the 17th and 18th century people attributed to music the power to bring the notion of eternity into their daily life. The chaconne became the synonym for eternity and a symbol for music which reaches out to higher dimensions.
The fact that the bass pattern is repeated over and over again, turning around like a spinning wheel has made it possible to associate a fairly simple (however very powerful!) harmonic progression with a dimen-sion of time which goes beyond our human measurements. Bach’s famous Chaconne BWV 1004 comes with an aura of death and vanity – supposedly, he wrote it as instrumental lament for his first wife Maria Barbara, who tragically passed away while Bach was traveling.
Purcell’s Two in one upon a ground presses on into unknown territory of our experience of time : whereas the repeated bass line refers to eternity, the canon of the two recorders integrates both past and future into one line brought to life by two different performers. While player 1 shows the future (we already know what the other player will perform), player 2 shadows the past of his colleague who is always a step or two ahead in time.
From there it is only a small step to the depiction of heaven and hell (Ciacona di Paradiso, et dell inferno), the anxiety of a young girl who does not want to enter a convent (Sonata sopra la Monica), Falconiero’s battle between Satan and Barabas or Vivaldi’s breathtaking excursions into the wild world of madness (La Follia). Despite the variety of different stories being told, all these pieces share one feature: repeated patterns open the ear to a perception of time which is nourished by the mystery of life and death.
The concert tonight is certainly only a drop in a seemingly endless sea, but the composers’ boats float on waters which have been travelling to the edge of space and time and back again…
Ensemble Caprice, a baroque ensemble which performs on period instruments, was founded by acclaimed recorder soloist Matthias Maute and has become known for its innovative and adventuresome approach to an increasingly expanding musical repertoire. In addition to its concert series in Montreal, the group tours extensively, giving dozens of concerts mostly across Canada and the USA, but also in Europe (UK, Germany) and in Israel. In Canada, the ensemble can be heard at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Early Music Vancouver, Early Music Voices in Calgary and the Festival International du Domaine Forget. This remarkable touring schedule has established Ensemble Caprice as one of the most important Canadian baroque music ensembles. The Ensemble’s recording activity is impressive, comprising over twenty CD’s on the Analekta, ATMA Classique and Antes labels, sold in some fifty countries. These recordings have gained many honours and much critical acclaim in Canada, USA and in European countries. The CD Gloria! Vivaldi and his Angels received a JUNO Award in 2009 from the Canadian recording industry. http://ensemblecaprice.com
Matthias Maute, recorder, baroque flute, composer, conductor and co-artistic director of Ensemble Caprice
Matthias Maute has carved out an impressive international reputation for himself not only as one of the great recorder and baroque flute virtuosos of his generation but also as a composer and conductor. Since winning first prize in the soloist category at the prestigious Bruges Early Music Competition in 1990, he has led a highly successful career as a soloist. He made his debut in New York’s Lincoln Center in 2008 and has twice been the featured soloist for the Boston Early Music Festival. The Washington Post hailed him as one of the greatest recorder players in North America. He has been invited to perform as guest soloist or conductor by eminent baroque orchestras like the Portland Baroque Orchestra and Apollo’s Fire. Recently he has been invited to conduct other renowned orchestras including I Musici de Montréal.
Matthias Maute is also celebrated for his work as artistic director and conductor of Ensemble Caprice. In this capacity he is known for creating ingenious and original programmes. His compositions are highly regarded and one of his publishers is Breitkopf & Härtel. He has some thirty recordings to his credit on many labels including Analekta and ATMA Classique.
Sophie Larivière, recorder, baroque flute and co-artistic director of Ensemble Caprice
Sophie Larivière has been a member and co-artistic director of Ensemble Caprice since 1997. In this capacity, she has been instrumental in developing the unique and innovative identity of this ensemble, which provides concert goers with an exciting blend of virtuosity and musical expressiveness. As a member of Caprice, she has played in numerous concerts in many countries. Much appreciated for the flowing, expressive beauty of her playing, Sophie Larivière is regularly invited to perform with many early music ensembles. She has played with Arion Orchestre Baroque, l’Opéra de Montréal, the Studio de Musique ancienne de Montréal, the Theater of Early Music, Rebel, the Violons du Roy, and New York’s Trinity Choir, as well as the Concert Spirituel in Paris. Sophie Larivière has taken part in some thirty recording projects for the Analekta, Virgin Classics, Atma Classique, Antes Edition and Interdisc labels. She is a devoted teacher, and for decades has been transmitting her passion for music to a younger generation of performers as well as to amateur musicians.
Susie Napper, violoncello
Susie Napper was awarded Quebec’s “Personality of the Year” Prix Opus in 2002. She is the founder and Artistic Director of the Montreal Baroque Festival. Having grown up in an artistic milieu in London, UK, she then studied at the Juilliard School in New York, and later at the Paris Conservatory. Since then, Ms. Napper has appeared with several internationally-known early music ensembles, such as the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Stradivaria in France, the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, the Trinity Consort of Portland, Tafelmusik, Ensemble Caprice and the viola da gamba duo Les Voix Humaines. Her concert tours have taken her as far afield as China, Japan, New Zealand, India, the Middle East, Europe and North America. Ms. Napper’s recordings, which include most of the known repertoire for two viols, can be heard on the Harmonia Mundi, EMI, Erato, ADDA, CBC Records, Naxos, Analekta, and, most notably, on the Atma Classique labels.
David Jacques, guitar
David Jacques was born in Saint-Georges de Beauce, Québec in 1978 and has a Doctorate in the interpretation of early music from the Université de Montréal. He began his studies of classical guitar at the Cégep de Sainte-Foy, continuing at Université Laval and later at the Conservatoire de Québec. He has recorded more than 15 CDs on the XXI-21, ATMA and Analekta labels and collaborated on numerous other productions. His Pièces de guitarre de Mr Rémy Médard (Productions XX-21) won the Conseil Québécois de la Musique’s 2008 Prix Opus Disc of the Year award in the early music category. David has also published several arrangements for guitar for Les Productions d’OZ. Active both in Canada and internationally, he has performed over 2000 concerts in 30 countries on all five continents. He is currently Professor of Classical Guitar at Université Laval and the Cégep de Sainte-Foy and is frequently invited by other musical organizations to give master classes and workshops.
Ziya Tabassian, percussion
Ziya Tabassian began playing the tombak at the age of eleven. He began his formal training in Iran, pursuing his studies with Master Tehrani’s method. In Canada, he studied classical percussion with Julien Grégoire at the Université de Montréal and later returned to Iran to continue his training with M. Bahman Rajabi. Ziya is an active member of Constantinople, which he co-founded with his brother Kiya Tabassian. In addition to Ensemble Caprice he has collaborated with the Kronos Quartet, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, En Chordais, and the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal. His solo CD, entitled TOMBAK was released on the Ambiances Magnetiques label.