J.S. Bach: Mass in B Minor

Date/Time
Saturday, August 6, 2016
8:00 pm

Location
Christ Church Cathedral

Category(ies)

Northwest Baroque MASTERWORKS PROJECT

Doors open at 6:45 pm. Pre-concert talk at 7:10 pm.

Arion Baroque Orchestra MONTREAL

Alexander Weimann, music director

Yulia Van Doren, Shannon Mercer, sopranos
Krisztina Szabo, Laura Pudwell, mezzo-sopranos
Charles Daniels, Phillipe Gagné, tenors
Christian Immler, Sumner Thompson,
baritones

Bach spent the last years of his life creating the magnificent Mass in B Minor. This performance is with full Baroque orchestra, eight internationally renowned soloists and a professional chorus.

dash, panache, and impeccable timing…outstanding. ARTS & OPINION

Visit the website of
Arion Baroque Orchestra
Alexander Weimann

Supported by Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des Arts et des Lettres de Quebec

The Northwest Baroque Masterworks Project, an initiative of EMSI and Early Music Vancouver, is a series of major works performed at various venues in the Pacific Northwest. Supported by Christ Church Cathedral.

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PROGRAMME

I Missa

Intermission

II Credo – Symbolum Nicenum

III Sanctus

IV Osanna, Benedictus, Agnus Dei

 

PROGRAMME NOTES

Almost all Bach’s works were composed for specific functions: the instrumental works for Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen and for the Leipzig Collegium Musicum, the cantatas and Passions for religious services at Weimar or Leipzig. The exceptions are the works written for keyboard and the Mass in B minor. This gigantic work was not intended to be sung in its entirety at any specific liturgical ceremony. As Roland de Candé says, “listening to it is not compatible with the duration of the liturgy, not even as part of the most solemn ceremony.” While several of its movements are borrowed from previously written cantatas, it remains a free-standing gratuitous religious work, without specific liturgical function. In this, it is unique not only among Bach’s works, but indeed in the history of music.

Let us look at the circumstances and events of its genesis. Bach, from the first, had in mind a very precise goal. He was annoyed by the numerous vexations to which he was subjected by the authorities in Leipzig where, for nearly ten years, he had been working as Thomaskantor. The ‘most wise’ city council insisted more on his teaching Latin at the St. Thomas school than on the quality of music he was required to prepare for Sunday and holy day services at the St. Thomas and St. Nicholas churches.

On the other hand, the court of Dresden—the capital of Saxony, the state in which Leipzig was located—possessed one of the best orchestras in Europe. Musicians such as Weiss, Zelenka, Pisendel, Hasse Heinichen, plus Italians on tour (including Veracini and Lotti) assured the city a musical life of very high quality. Bach would have loved to add his name to this long list. Thus it was that, on July 27, 1733, he dedicated to the Elector of Saxony a Kyrie and a Gloria—the equivalent of a Lutheran mass—in a bid to obtain the post of court composer. The Saxon court had been Catholic since 1697, when Elector Augustus I converted so as to gain the throne of Poland, becoming King Augustus II. However, except for the question of religious obedience, there was in principal no problem of liturgical usage, for the standard texts were common to both religions. Luther had rejected neither the respective parts of the mass nor the numerous Latin texts: the Kyrie was sung on the first Sunday in Advent, the Gloria and the Magnificat on Christmas, and the Sanctus on all major feasts.

Just as Bach was dedicating his work, Augustus II died and his successor, Augustus III, was crowned King of Poland in 1734. The first two parts of what would be the B-minor Mass were probably first performed during the ceremonies in which Augustus III swore the oath of fidelity, or possibly when he came to Leipzig. Some commentators have seen the Kyrie as funeral music for the dead Elector, and in the Gloria a wish for good portents for the new one. Still with the same goal in mind, Bach was unstinting in writing homages. Within two years he had composed and directed the Leipzig Collegium Musicum in several secular cantatas composed in honor of the Elector: for the birthday of the sovereign, for that of his royal consort, for the birth of an heir, and for his coronation as King of Poland in Krakow. Despite all these efforts, it is highly unlikely that the 1733 Kyrie and Gloria were ever played in Dresden. At last, in 1736, Bach obtained the coveted post at the Dresden court; but he had to remain in Leipzig, for the post turned out to be more an honorary title than a real job. In the opinion of musicologist L.A. Marcel, the position was not a feather in Bach’s cap.

Perhaps at the request of some Dresden friends, Bach decided at the end of the 1740s to finish the B-minor Mass by setting the texts of the mass for which he had not yet written music—with the exception of the Sanctus, which he had set to music for Christmas, 1724. Thus between 1747 and 1749—certain musicologists prefer an earlier date, however—all the sections were completed. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach reassembled them a bit later under the name of Große Katholische Messe (Great Catholic Mass), and arranged for the Credo to be performed in Hamburg in 1786. Between 1833 and 1845 Nägeli and Simrok published the first edition of the mass in Bonn. It was entitled Hohe Messe in h-moll (High Mass in B Minor), and described as “the greatest masterpiece of all time and all people.” It was not until 1859, though, that the work was first performed in its entirety—but in a modified version, ‘improved’ according to 19th-century standards and translated into German!

Although it had not been composed in one stroke, the B-minor mass shows formidable unity. Sumptuously orchestrated—and far more often in a gleaming D major, ideal for trumpets, than in B minor, the key of the Kyrie—it is like a gigantic cantata with neither recitatives nor chorales. Only in the Credo, and there only in a few places, did Bach utilize a Gregorian cantus firmus. He recycled pieces, choruses and arias, from a dozen cantatas, but these borrowings are always rethought and reworked both as settings for Latin texts and for their general sense; and by adding a fifth voice to some four-voice choruses, Bach made them almost more perfect than the originals.

The genre of the mass demands a different and more objective treatment than that appropriate for a motet or a cantata. The emotion that Bach breathed into his mass may not have the intensity of that in his Passions, but it is more intense than the masses of his predecessors, whose polyphonic compositional techniques he used. His choral writing is contrapuntal and expresses the full range of emotions, from affliction to triumph, registered in the text, while the airs and duos are more modern and lighten the work’s general texture.

Musical symbolism, so prominent in the Passions and cantatas, is present too in the B-minor Mass. However, it serves more to underline the general sense of a section than to illustrate a specific word or expression. For instance, the violin motifs in Et incarnates est evoke the grace of the Virgin; the consubstantial nature of Father and Son is represented by imitation at the unison of the two voices in the duo Et in unum Dominum; the six-voice chorales of the Sanctus symbolize the six wings of the seraphims as described by the prophet Isaiah; and the change of tonality on the words homo factus est represents the change of being associated with the Incarnation.

But the reasons pushing Bach to write this Mass, the only religious vocal work of his not tailored to the needs of a specific function, remain an open question. Because of its dimensions, because of certain words not acceptable to the Catholic liturgy (for instance, altissime after Jesu Christe in the Gloria), it suits neither the Lutheran rite, in which nothing is sung after the Sanctus, nor the Catholic. Bach must have known that his work could not be played, at least in his lifetime. Maybe he wanted to rival or surpass composers, such as Caldara, Lotti, or Zelenka, who had written similar grand masses; or perhaps in the evening of his life, he wanted to propose, through his musical art, a rapprochement between the Christian churches, a musical solution to their quarrels, so contrary to the spirit of the Gospels. The two oboes d’amore in unison on unam sanctam catholicam ecclesiam would seem to suggest this.

Built on an architecture worthy of its subject and to the high standards of Bach’s genius; expressive of his personal idealism; distilling in the form of a testament the quintessence of his religious opus—many consider the Credo of the B-minor Mass to be Bach’s very last composition, later even than The Art of Fugue: the confluence of all these factors make this monumental work one of the absolute summits of Western music.

– François Filiatrault. English Translation by Douglas Kirk

 

THE ARTISTS

Yulia Van Doren
Recognized by Opera Magazine as “A star-to-be” following her Lincoln Center debut, young Russian-American soprano Yulia Van Doren’s debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra was acclaimed as a “revelation… a ravishing lyric voice and an ease with vocal ornamentation that turned her into an enchanted songbird” (Toronto Star). For her last minute step-in with the Cleveland Orchestra, The Cleveland Plain Dealer praised Van Doren as an artist of “melting poignancy” and added, “To Van Doren, one could easily have listened for hours.”

A dedicated interpreter of repertoire off the beaten path, career highlights include creating the lead female role in the world premiere of Shostakovich’s Orango with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, directed by Peter Sellars and released on Deutsche Grammophon; two Grammy-nominated opera recordings with the Boston Early Music Festival; the modern revival of Monsigny’s opera Le roi et le fermier at Opera de Versailles, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center (recorded for Naxos); and a tour of Handel’s Orlando with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra to the Mostly Mozart, Ravinia and Tanglewood festivals.

Highlights of Ms. Van Doren’s upcoming season include appearances with the Cincinnati and Baltimore Symphonies, the Cleveland Orchestra, and tours with Mark Morris Dance Group including performances of Handel’s Acis and Galatea and L’Allegro under conductor Nicholas McGegan.

Shannon Mercer
Recognized for the luminosity and effortless agility of her voice, as well as her commanding stage presence and profound acting ability, Canadian soprano Shannon Mercer enthusiastically embraces a range of repertoire from early to contemporary music, from Francesca Caccini and Monteverdi to John Beckwith and Ana Sokolović. Shannon maintains a busy and challenging performance calendar of opera, concert, and recital engagements throughout North America and Europe while also sustaining an active recording presence, capturing some rarely performed works.

Highlights of Shannon’s 2015–2016 season include a return to the opera stage as Pamina in the Calgary Opera production of Die Zauberflöte, concerts with the Naples Philharmonic in Florida, Handel’s Messiah with the Oregon Symphony, Dean Burry’s The Mummers’ Masque with the Toronto Masque Theatre, the 20th Anniversary Gala of the Toronto Welsh Male Voice Choir and a concert with the ensemble ‘5’ at the First Chamber Music Series.

Shannon’s discography includes Trobairitz, a new disc containing songs set to poems by female troubadours in the South of France, the 2014 Juno-nominated Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été and Palej’s The Poet and the War, two recordings of Bach’s St. John Passion, the Juno-Award winning Gloria: Vivaldi’s Angels, Vivaldi—The Return of the Angels, Salsa Baroque, O Viva Rosa, Bach and the Liturgical Year, Wales—The Land of Song, and others. She appears on DVD in Alexina Louie’s comic operas Burnt Toast and Mulroney: The Opera, and in Monty Python funny-man Eric Idle’s hit Not the Messiah.

Krisztina Szabó
In the 2016–17 season, Krisztina Szabó will sing the title role in Rossini’s Cenerentola with Edmonton Opera, and will appear in concert with Tafelmusik (Toronto), Music of the Baroque (Chicago), Grand Philharmonic Choir (Kitchener-Waterloo) and Pax Christi Chorale (Toronto). She will also be a featured performer in Canadian Stage’s All But Gone, a production featuring short plays by Samuel Beckett.

In the 2015–16 season Krisztina Szabó sang the role of Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle (Colorado Music Festival), Thisbe in Pyramus and Thisbe (Canadian Opera Company). She appeared as soloist in Handel’s Messiah (Symphony Nova Scotia, Calgary Philharmonic), in concert with Bravissimo! at Roy Thomson Hall, with Soundstreams, with the Toronto Children’s Chorus, and with Talisker Players.

In 2015, she was nominated for 2 Dora Awards for her performances as The Woman in Erwartung with the COC and in Booster Shots with Tapestry Opera. Career highlights include The Woman in Death and Desire (Against the Grain Theatre), Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and Sesto in La clemenza di Tito (Vancouver Opera), Le Pèlerin in L’Amour de loin and Idamante in Idomeneo (COC), Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos (Stadttheater Klagenfurt), Rosalind in The Mines of Sulphur (Wexford Festival Opera), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) and Meg (Little Women)(Calgary Opera), Dorabella (Mostly Mozart Festival, NY), St. Matthew Passion (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Nerone in Agrippina (L’Opéra de Montréal), and Ruggiero in Alcina and Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos (Les Violons du Roy).

Laura Pudwell
Grammy-nominated Laura Pudwell’s reputation as a superb vocalist has been well-established as a result of her performances in London, Paris, Salzburg, Houston, Vienna and Boston. Her vast repertoire ranges from early music to contemporary works. Ms. Pudwell is equally at home on the opera, oratorio or recital stage, and has received international acclaim for her recordings.

A frequent guest of many national and international presenters, Ms. Pudwell has had the privilege of working with many outstanding conductors, including Hans Graf, Hervé Niquet, Andrew Parrott, Ivars Taurens, Bernard Labadie, Lydia Adams, Howard Dyck and Robert Cooper.

On the opera stage, she has performed across Canada with such companies as Opera Atelier, the Calgary Opera, Vancouver Early Music and Festival Vancouver, as well as with the Houston Grand Opera and the Cleveland Opera. Her many roles include Cornelia (Giulio Cesare), Marcelina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Nerone and Arnalta (L’Incoronazione di Poppea) and Dido/Sorceress (Dido & Aeneas), which also was an award-winning recording performed by Ms. Pudwell in Paris. Laura Pudwell is a regular participant in many festivals, including Festival Vancouver, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, the Banff Summer Festival, the Elora Festival, the Boston Early Music Festival and the WinterPark Bach Festival in Orlando.

Ms. Pudwell appears regularly with the Toronto Consort, and is a frequent guest soloist with Tafelmusik, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Toronto Chamber Choir, Symphony Nova Scotia, the St. Lawrence Choir, Le Concert Spirituel and the Menno Singers. Ms. Pudwell lives in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario with her husband and two children.

Charles Daniels
Charles Daniels is best known for interpreting Baroque music, notably Monteverdi, Purcell, Bach, and Handel, but his narrative gifts have been praised over many repertoires. Among his two hundred recordings are Monteverdi L’Orfeo with Andrew Parrott, Bach’s Matthäus-Passion with the Bach-Stiftung and Johannes-Passion with Portland Baroque, Handel Messiah with the Gabrieli Consort, Wojciech Kilar’s Missa Pro Pace with the Warsaw Philharmonic, The Beggar’s Opera, Schütz’ Christmas Story, Lambert airs with Fred Jacobs, much other Bach and Purcell.

His concerts range from intimate performances—Lawes songs with Les Voix Humaines, Caccini and Kapsberger with Elizabeth Kenny, John Tavener’s ‘Songs of the Sky‘—through Purcell King Arthur (Tafelmusik), Handel Solomon (Halle, Göttingen), to BBC Proms, Britten War Requiem (Canterbury, Salisbury), and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius (Wroclaw, Cardiff).

This season features festive Bach (De Nederlandse Bachvereniging), secular Bach (Bach Collegium Japan) and Schütz in Stuttgart with Christoph Rademann.
His completion of Purcell’s unfinished Ode Arise my Muse was performed in Montreal in 2009 and broadcast on Radio-Canada. His completions of Gesualdo’s Sacrae Cantiones for 6 and 7 voices, are being performed in Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw by the Gesualdo Consort.

He is married with two daughters and is a keen cyclist. Charles enjoys frequent collaborations with Canadian musicians and is very much looking forward to this tour of Bach’s Mass in B Minor.

Philippe Gagné
Philippe Gagne has been praised for his expressiveness, refined musical sensitivity and vocal flexibility, as well as the beauty and lightness of his tone quality. He embraces all periods of music, but has a predilection for the baroque repertoire.

This particular affinity, combined with an innate talent for the music of this period, has led him to perform in numerous countries and with many well-known groups, including Les Violons du Roy, Arion Baroque Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, Le Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, I Musici de Montréal, La Bande Montréal Baroque and Le Palais Royal, Les Boréades, Les Idées heureuses, Ensemble Caprice and L’Harmonie des Saisons. He has worked under several acclaimed conductors and artistic directors, including Bernard Labadie, Ivars Taurins, Eric Milnes, Fabien Gabel, Christopher Jackson, Francis Colpron, Geneviève Soly, Florian Heyerick, Hervé Niquet and Christophe Rousset. In 2014, Philippe was awarded the Bruce Haynes International Competition prize and also featured in two ATMA Classique recordings.

During winter 2016 in Europe, he sang on three different recordings under CPO Label, including a selection of Beck, Gossec and Telemann. In the coming months, he will participate again in June in a recording of Bach cantatas under ATMA Classique label, it will then produce in July and August with the Theatre of Early Music, with Arion Baroque in September and October and then finally in November, in Toronto with Tafelmusik.

Christian Immler
From the Tölzer Knabenchor as a boy alto to singing as a soloist at major concert halls all over the world, German baritone Christian Immler has spent years making music of the highest quality. Having studied at the Guildhall in London with Rudolf Piernay, Christian won the International Nadia et Lili Boulanger Competition in Paris in 2001, launching his baritone career.

Although also known for singing Handel, Haydn, Mozart and, increasingly, Mahler, running down the spine of Christian’s career has been the music of J S Bach. Having sung the B minor Mass, St John Passion and St Matthew Passion with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre, he has also performed these works with Philippe Herreweghe, Daniel Harding, Michel Corboz, Jos van Veldhoven, Leonardo García Alarcón (receiving a ‘Diapason d’Or’ for ‘Music for Weddings’ by Bach and Böhm) and Ensemble Pygmalion (‘Editor’s Choice’ in the Gramophone for Masses BWV 233/236).

Christian’s musical interests and talents are very broad. Recent projects have included Handel’s Dixit Dominus with Concentus Musicus and Ivor Bolton, Krenek’s Orpheus with Lothar Zagrosek (Berlin Konzerthaus), Mozart’s C minor Mass with Giovanni Antonini (Salzburg Festival), the world premiere of Hellstenius’s The moon eats humans (Bergen Festival), C. P. E. Bach’s Magnificat with Ottavio Dantone, Christmas Oratorio with Akademie für alte Musik Berlin, Weill’s Berliner Requiem at the Lucerne Festival, Krenek’s Reisebuch with Radio Svizzera Italiana and Graziella Contratto, Mahler Songs with the Ensemble Symphonique de Neuchâtel, Handel’s Messiah with Masaaki Suzuki, Telemann Cantatas with Andrew Parrott, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle (Vancouver Festival) and Fauré’s Requiem with the Gulbenkian Orchestra.

As a recitalist, Christian has been hailed as one of the foremost Lieder singers of his generation, applauded for his particular interest in 20th Century ‘Emigré Composers’ such as Zemlinsky, Korngold, Eisler, Schreker and Gál. He has presented their works—as well as core Lieder repertoire by Schubert, Schumann and Wolf—in leading recital venues, such as the Wigmore Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Frick Collection in New York and the Salzburg Mozarteum, the latter with pianist Helmut Deutsch. Their CD Modern Times was recently awarded both the ‘Diamant d’Opéra’ and the prestigious ‘Diapason Découverte’.

Alongside his concert work, Christian’s operatic career has been flourishing. His most recent roles were Docteur Itard/Vicaire in the world premiere of Fénelon’s JJR (directed by Robert Carsen) and Dodo/Frog Footman/Mock Turtle in Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. He has also sung Seneca (Poppea) at the Boston Early Music Festival, Förster (Cunning Little Vixen) for the Wiener Kammeroper, Ubalde (Armide) at New Israeli Opera, Achis (David & Jonathas) conducted by William Christie and Pharnaces in Zemlinsky’s Der König Kandaules at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Christian will return to the BEMF in 2013 to sing Consalvo in Handel’s Almira.

His recordings include Bach B Minor Mass, Schubert Sakuntala (‘Diapason d’Or’), Continental Britons (five stars in BBC Music) and Albeniz’s Henry Clifford, all released to wide critical acclaim. Christian is professor of voice at the Conservatoire in Lausanne/Fribourg.

Sumner Thompson
Described as possessing “power and passion,” and “stylish elegance,” Sumner Thompson is in high demand on the concert and opera stage across North America and Europe. He has appeared as a soloist with many leading ensembles and orchestras including the Britten-Pears Orchestra, the National Symphony, the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Les Voix Baroques, The Handel and Haydn Society, Tafelmusik, Arion Baroque Orchestra, Gli Angeli Genève, and the orchestras of Phoenix, Memphis, Indianapolis, Buffalo, and Charlotte.

Recent engagements include a repeat performance of Handel’s Messiah with Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society, Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers with the critically acclaimed Green Mountain Project, Britten’s War Requiem with the Boston Philharmonic, Bach’s St. John Passion at the National Cathedral, and the title role in Britten’s Saint Nicolas with Philadelphia Choral Arts. On the operatic stage he performed the role of El Dancaïro in Carmen with the Cincinnati Opera, and the role of Siegmund in a concert version of Act I of Wagner’s Die Walküre in Boston.

Mr. Thompson can be heard on the Boston Early Music Festival’s Grammy-nominated recording of Lully’s Psyché on the CPO label, with the Handel and Haydn Society on their recording of Handel’s Messiah on the Coro label, and also with Les Voix Baroques on Canticum Canticorum, Carissimi Oratorios, and Humori, all on the ATMA label.

In addition to his musical pursuits, Mr. Thompson spends his time restoring his 1885 Stick-style Victorian home, building various types of bass guitars, and entertaining his 4 year old daughter.

Alexander Weimann
Alexander Weimann is one of the most sought-after ensemble directors, soloists, and chamber music partners of his generation. After traveling the world with ensembles like Tragicomedia, Cantus Cölln, the Freiburger Barockorchester, the Gesualdo Consort and Tafelmusik, he now focuses on his activities as Artistic Director of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in Vancouver, and as music director of Les Voix Baroques, Le Nouvel Opéra and Tempo Rubato.

Recently, he has conducted the Montreal-based baroque orchestra Ensemble Arion, Les Violons du Roy, and the Portland Baroque Orchestra; both the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra have regularly featured him as a featured soloist. In the last years, he has repeatedly conducted the Victoria Symphony and Symphony Nova Scotia, most recently with Handel’s Messiah.

Alexander Weimann can be heard on some 100 CDs. He made his North American recording debut with the ensemble Tragicomedia on the CD Capritio (Harmonia Mundi USA), and won worldwide acclaim from both the public and critics for his 2001 release of Handel’s Gloria (ATMA Classique). Volume 1 of his recordings of the complete keyboard works by Alessandro Scarlatti appeared in May 2005. Critics around the world unanimously praised it, and in the following year it was nominated for an Opus Prize as the best Canadian early music recording. Recently, he has also released an Opus Award-winning CD of Handel oratorio arias with superstar soprano Karina Gauvin and his new Montreal-based ensemble Tempo Rubato, a recording of Bach’s St. John’s Passion, various albums with Les Voix Baroques of Buxtehude, Carissimi and Purcell, all with rave reviews. His latest album with Karina Gauvin and Arion Baroque Orchestra (Prima Donna) won a Juno Award in 2013, and a complete recording of Handel’s Orlando was released in the fall of 2013, with an exciting group of international star soloists and the Pacific Baroque Orchestra performing.

Alexander Weimann was born in 1965 in Munich, where he studied the organ, church music, musicology (with a summa cum laude thesis on Bach’s secco recitatives), theatre, medieval Latin, and jazz piano, supported by a variety of federal scholarships for the highly talented. In addition to his studies, he has attended numerous master classes in harpsichord and historical performance. To ground himself further in the roots of western music, he became intensely involved over the course of several years with Gregorian chant. Alexander Weimann has moved to the Vancouver area with his wife, 3 children and pets, and tries to spend as much time as possible in his garden and kitchen.

Arion Baroque Orchestra
Founded in 1981 in Montreal, Arion Baroque Orchestra is now a cornerstone in the world of early music on period instruments in Quebec and Canada. The clarity and freshness of Arion’s interpretations have been remarked upon since its first concerts; the delicacy of its readings of well-chosen and varied works has never wavered in more than 30 years. Constant attention to detail has earned the orchestra, led by the enlightened artistic vision of flutist Claire Guimond, a place among the most renowned early music ensembles in North America and throughout the world.

The Orchestra offers a prestigious Montreal concert Series featuring more than twenty musicians and with the participation of internationally known guest conductors. Arion has hosted such celebrated conductors as Stefano Montanari, Jaap ter Linden, Monica Huggett, Christophe Rousset, Barthold Kuijken, Rachel Podger and Elizabeth Wallfisch, to name just a few. Arion has been awarded many prizes and grants and tours regularly in the United States, Mexico, Europe and Japan, as well as Quebec and Canada. Arion know holds an impressive discography of 27 titles. In 2001, Claire Guimond founded early-music.com, dedicated to furthering excellence on period instruments in early music. Largely centered on Arion recordings, early-music.com contributes undeniably to the prestige of these artists thanks to its international diffusion. For Arion’s discography, please browse through the early-music.com website.

 


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