Friday, April 26, 2013

Final program, notes and translations for our season finale French Cantatas Mixed With Symphonies, 8PM, Apr. 27th 2013 at Heliconian Hall.

French Cantatas Mixed with Symphonies

Musette Jean-Baptiste de Bousset (1662-1725)

Piéces en Mi Mineur Marin Marais (1656–1728)
Prelude-Le Tableau de l'Operation de la Taille-Les Relevailles

Factum est silentium Louis-Nicolas Clérambault (1676-1749)

Piéces en Sol Mineur Louis Couperin (c.1626-1661)

Sonate a la Maresienne Marais
Un peu grave-Legerement-Un peu gay-Sarabande-Tres vivement-Gravement-Gigue


Piéces en Sol Majeur Robert de Visée (c.1655-1732/3)
Prelude-Menuet-Entrée Des Espagnols de M De Lully-Les Sylvains de M Couperin 

Semelé-Cantate Avec Simphonie Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre (1665-1729)

The Musicians In Ordinary
Named after the singers and lutenists who performed in the most intimate quarters of the Stuart monarchs’ palace, The Musicians In Ordinary for the Lutes and Voices dedicate themselves to the performance of early solo song and vocal chamber music. Soprano Hallie Fishel and lutenist John Edwards have been described as ‘winning performers of winning music’. A fixture on the Toronto early music scene for over 10 years, this year MIO became Ensemble in Residence at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto and next month they have been invited to give lectures and a concert at University of California, San Diego. They have concertized across North America and lecture regularly at universities and museums. Institutions where MIO have performed range from the scholarly to those for a more general public and include the Renaissance Society of America, Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies, Grinnell College, the Universities of Alberta and Toronto, Syracuse, Trent and York Universities and the Bata Shoe Museum. They have been Ensemble in Residence at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Their CD of Elizabethan and Jacobean songs on the topic of sleep, Sleep Wayward Thoughts, is available at intermission.

Christopher Verrette has been a member of the violin section of Tafelmusik since 1993 and is a frequent soloist and leader with the orchestra. He holds a Bachelor of Music and a Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University and contributed to the development of early music in the American Midwest as a founding member of the Chicago Baroque Ensemble and Ensemble Voltaire, and as a guest director with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. He collaborates with many ensembles around North America, performing music from seven centuries on violin, viola, rebec, vielle and viola d’amore. He was concertmaster for a recording of rarely heard classical symphonies for a recently released anthology by Indiana University Press, and most recently collaborated with Sylvia Tyson on the companion recording to her novel, Joyner’s Dream.

Philip Fournier is Titular Organist of the Toronto Oratory, Director of the Chant Schola & Oratory Children’s Choir. He specializes in Gregorian Chant, which he studied at Solesmes with Dom Saulnier. He gives solo organ recitals regularly at the Oratory, is guest organist of the Toronto Tallis Choir, artistic director and continuo player of the St. Vincent’s Baroque Soloists, and is active as a composer. His organ and harpsichord teachers have included James David Christie at the College of the Holy Cross, Russell Saunders, Paul O’Dette & Arthur Haas at the Eastman School of Music, and Robert Clark & John Metz at Arizona State. Mr. Fournier was the first Organ Scholar of the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester USA, and was subsequently named a Fenwick Scholar, the highest academic honour given by the College. He was one of the recitalists of the Chapel Artists Series there in 2011. He won the Historical Organ in America competition in 1992 and performed at Arizona State University on the Paul Fritts organ, and was awarded a recital on the Flentrop instrument at Duke University. Mr. Fournier was Organist & Director of Music at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Portland Maine, from 2000-2007, during which time he founded the Cathedral Schola Cantorum for the restoration of Gregorian Chant and Renaissance Polyphony to the Stational Masses of the Diocese of Portland.

Justin Haynes studied cello and viola da gamba at Harvard and the Royal Dutch Conservatory under Philippe Pierlot, Anneke Pols and Reiner Zipperling. Currently based in Toronto, he has performed with Folia, Scaramella, Tafelmusik and Opera Atelier, as well as with the Boston-based Arcturus Chamber Ensemble and Les Bostonades. He is also a founding member of the baroque chamber ensemble, L’Indiscrete. Justin’s interest in the viol includes the history and construction of the instrument itself. After making the viol he currently plays on, he was awarded a Shaw traveling fellowship to study instrument making in London and explore the great Northern European viol collections. He maintains an atelier in Boston, where he is curator of Harvard’s historical instrument collection.

At the beginning of the 18th century, books with titles like ‘Cantates Françoises Melées de Symphonies’ started coming from French music presses. André Campra boasted that in his book of cantatas he had ‘mixed with the delicacy of French music, the vivacity of Italian.’ Many pamphlets on whether the elegant, even precious French style or the direct, dramatic Italian was ‘better’ were printed in this period and melding the styles became a goal for composers. François Couperin even published a book of chamber music callled Les Goûts réunis. This Couperin is the composer of Les Sylvains, arranged from the keyboard original for theorbo by de Visée. Couperin and de Visée played together with the viol player Forqueray, the violinist Rebel and the flute player Descôteaux in 1701 at a salon. De Visée’s main job, however, was playing a nightly concert for the king in his bedchamber.

In the middle of the 17th century, lute players like the Gautiers had set the trend for depictive music by applying titles like ‘The Beautiful Murderess’ or ‘Cleopatra in Love’ to dance pieces. The opera composer Lully found this useful for Tempest and Sleep movements in his works and this was one of the French traits that, as we will hear tonight, the style reuniters retained. The thunder and lightning of Jupiter’s approach is painted in Lullian style in Semelé. Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre was a musical prodigy at the French court at the tender age of five performing on the harpsichord. Later, she played public concerts in Paris and was the first to bring the exotic Italian cantata to France.

We hear the bagpipes of the shepherd in Bousset’s Musette. Pastoralism was having a last hurrah in 18th century France. Bousset was a minor nobleman who worked as the maître de musique in the chapel of the Louvre and published several books of Airs. The Bibliothèque nationale de France has begun digitizing their collections of music and making it available online. After poring through dozens of the books of airs, we made an edition from the original print (which is rather difficult to read in its pixelated form) so it may be that you are hearing the North American premier of this little piece tonight.

We procured the motet for St. Michael the Archangel the same way, and again there seems to be no other modern edition but ours. We are less confident about this being the first modern performance though, since Clérambault is one of the best known French composers of the period.  He worked as organist at a large Parisian church and as a household musician for the secret wife of Louis XIV, Madame de Maintenon.

In perhaps the most famous of French Baroque depictive pieces, Marais paints us an all too vivid tableau of the bladder stone operation he endured. This piece is often said to depict a gall bladder operation, but that procedure was not performed until the 19th century. The unsqueamish can find the Traite de Lithomie (the frontispiece of which is reproduced above) on Google books. Marais has the distinction of being played by Gérard Depardieu in the movie Tous les matins du monde where he is depicted as something of a social climber. Indeed he did rise from humble origins. The Sonate a la Maresienne sees Marais in a more Italianate mood.

Louis Couperin was uncle of the forementioned François. He also worked as a church organist and may have been the first ‘reuniter of the styles’ as he absorbed the Italian style through his musical mentor Froberger, who, curiously, was a German, into his suites of dances.

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