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We all need to discover open borders in the world and in ourselves.
Friday, February 17, 2017
THE SCENT OF THE FRENCH - MUSICALLY FLAVOURED
Montreal, January 16th, 7:30 pm, Bourgie
Arion Baroque Orchestra palpably lightened up the heavy feel of winter by
featuring the uplifting music of Telemann, Lalande and Rameau. These 17th-century
composers were enchanted with French musical flavours that consisted of a swirling
melodic melange of imaginative fantasy, frills, and contrasts. Most of the
evening highlighted pieces that were strongly accented in a surprisingly
intricate melée of instrumental play, influenced by the notable charmingly
gallant spirit that characterized the court of Louis XIV.
The guest for the evening was the British/Brazilian world-acclaimed violinist, Rodolfo
Richter whose understated manner perfectly suited the demureness, colourful
surprises and melodic sweetness, particularly noted when he and the orchestra’s
artistic director, flutist Claire Guimond shared passages of joyous
instrumental dialogue on their respective instruments in the Telemann concerto.
Michel-Richard de Lalande’s “Grande Pièce royale, S 161” – one of three
of the court composer’s “Caprices” offered a variety of musical flavours that
greatly pleased the king. This six-movement suite in G minor included an austere
chaconne, an exciting fugato, along with a sweet air in the major key – even a
gavotte that featured a pair of oboes in wondrous harmony that miraculously yet
perfectly contrasted with periodic heartfelt passages from the bassoon. The flourishing
finale burst with exhilarating gusto that gorgeously reflected this movement’s
Georg Philipp Telemann’s “Concerto for flute, violin and cello in A
major, TWV 53:A2” first appeared in the production of the composer’s Musique de table. The work' s stunning variety
of instruments is matched by an enthralling mix of tempi, fun and fury within contrasting movements: Largo, Allegro, Gratioso and another Allegro. His gift of alternating French
and Italian styles stands out in these four exciting parts.
Jean-Philippe Rameau was last but certainly not least on the evening’s
delightful program. His creation of a
comedic musical ballet bouffon titled Platée was first performed at Versailles in 1745 during the wedding of the Dauphin with
Maria Teresa of Spain.
This balletic opera is not without surprises, for in the tale, Platée, the nymph
bride-to-be looks like a frog! The music is positively exhilarating. The
twists, turns and sudden bursts of contrasting sounds are mixed into lively
dances that take their bow by succumbing to a tumultuous instrumental storm.
The concert lasted just over an hour, yet our hearts were filled with
joy. The music tricked us into thinking that La belle ville was in fact Paris not
Montreal – even
as we braved the towering snow banks outside Bourgie Hall.