Le Theatre of Early Music revient à Ottawa!
Festival Musique et autres mondes Ottawa 5 et 6 juillet
5 juillet 2015|
Christ Church Cathedral
439 Queen Street
Ontario K1R 5A6
Amour et trahison
Dominique Labelle et Daniel Taylor
dans un programme profondément émouvant d’arias et de duos
qui explorent les multiples facettes de l’amour et de la trahison.
avec le Theatre Of Early Music
chef, Adrian Butterfield, violon
Information et billets:
Festival Musique et autres mondes Ottawa
6 juillet 2015|
Christ Church Cathedral
439 Queen Street
Ontario K1R 5A6
Café-concert : une matinée avec le Theatre of Early Music
Daniel Taylor, haute-contre
Rebecca Genge, soprano
Agnes Zsigovics, soprano
Le Theatre of Early Music
chef, Adrian Butterfield, violon
Information et billets:
Festival Musique et autres mondes Ottawa
Heavy and happy is the music that crowns a king
PETER ROBB, Ottawa Citizen
November 26, 2014
Since the coronation of William the Conqueror at Westminster Abbey in 1066, every British monarch has been crowned in a service full of glorious music. 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. 3.
Q. What an interesting project. Where/when did the idea germinate?
A. The coronation of the Queen took place 60 years ago on June 2, 1953, when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey. The Diamond Jubilee marked the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne. 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. Last year, at the residence of the governor general, I was awarded the Queen’s Medal in recognition for my work in the arts. A few days later, I listened to the Gabrieli Consort’s Venetian Coronation and days later to the King Consort’s stunning rendition of Parry’s I Was Glad- it reminded me how much music can move us. 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.
Q. Please tell me about how you researched the music and the ceremony?
A. I traveled to Westminster Abbey, to St. George’s Chapel in Windsor and to the Chapel Royal. I spoke at length with the well-known British Period-Orchestra conductors Paul McCreesh and Robert King. We know that there are no indisputable documents that detail a specific order of service for the Coronations. We can be sure that the Clerk of the Cheque’s account of the service is fairly accurate in indicating that there was an introductory anthem as well as a setting of a work by Orlando Gibbons and Thomas Tallis confirming the tradition of returning to compositions of the past composers with works found in the music library of the Chapel Royal. Thus this concert/ceremony honors the ‘old’ music and music from the greatest of the English composers in a reconstruction of the pageant.
One of King George I’s last acts before his death on June 11, 1727 was to sign an act of naturalization of George Frederick Handel. Handel’s first subsequent commission was to write music for the coronation of King George II which took place on Oct. 11, 1727. 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."
We will be playing Handel’s coronation anthems Zadok the Priest and The King Shall Rejoice. 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. (At Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 music by Gibbons, Purcell, Tallis and Handel, including Zadok the Priest, was played.)
Q. Any interesting stories to tell about the coronation music that you uncovered?
A. 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.
Bridge, the English composer and organist, became known to historians for organizing great state occasions including Queen Victoria’s
jubilee in 1887, the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902 and the Coronation of George V in 1902. On receiving his commission as Director
Music, Bridge courageously decided to make a coronation a celebration of 400 years of English music including works by Orlando Gibbons,
Henry Purcell and Thomas Tallis alongside compositions of the day. New works commissioned included Hubert Parry’s setting of Psalm 122, I Was Glad, which has been used at every subsequent coronation, it was made famous in modern times when it was performed at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
Q. Tell me about your upcoming performance.
A. The concert is played on period instruments and combines choristers from the Theatre of Early Music, the University of Toronto Schola Cantorum and the York University Chamber Choir. Just as Choirs were combined for the major events, so do we bring together 60 young choristers and musicians. We open with the tolling of the bells, a trumpet fanfare and cries of Vivat either side of the procession of the drums — it’s fantastic stuff.
A regal affair with Daniel Taylor, Lisette Canton and the Theatre of Early Music
Performed at Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa
Reviewed Wednesday night, Dec 3rd by Natasha Gauthier, the Ottawa Citizen
Royal pomp was on offer Wednesday evening at Christ Church Cathedral - complete with trumpets, drums, a jowly bishop and a boy king - as Daniel Taylor and Lisette Canton co-conducted the Theatre of Early Music and assorted guests in a program of music fit for a coronation.
The TEM choir was augmented by members of University of Toronto’s Schola Cantorum, which Taylor directs, and the York University Chamber Choir, led by Ottawa’s Lisette Canton.
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...
After a drum procession and a trumpet fanfare the performance began in earnest with Hubert Parry’s soul-shaking anthem I Was Glad, directed by Taylor. 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.
Canton took over to direct Handel’s Coronation Anthem, The King Shall Rejoice. Canton’s style is quite different from Taylor’s: more extroverted and rhythmically driven; clearer to follow perhaps, but also less obsessive about details in the text.
Gibbon’s stunningly simple, open-hearted anthem Drop, Drop Slow Tears and Elizabeth Poston’s lovely carol Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, both conducted by Taylor, were the emotional and musical highlights of the concert, crystalline in their transparency and softly glowing with humility. 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........they rallied to crown the concert with a golden chord at the very end.
Le Refuge du cœur / The Heart's Refuge - Nomination au prix Juno !
26 janvier 2015: Daniel Taylor écrit:
" Quel accomplissement pour nos étudiants du département de musique ancienne à l’Université de Toronto Faculté de musique en partenariat avec le Chœur et Orchestre du Theatre of Early Music! "
Voici la liste des nominations aux prix Juno pour 2015 :
CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: VOCAL OR CHORAL PERFORMANCE:
Schubert: Winterreise Gerald Finley & Julius Drake (Hyperion) GAGNANT POUR 2015
Handel & Porpora: The London Years Julie Boulianne, Clavecin en concert & Luc Beauséjour (Analekta)
Mozart: Opera & Concert Arias Karina Gauvin, Les Violons du Roy & Bernard Labadie (Audiogram)
Terra Tremuit Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal (ATMA)
The Heart's Refuge Theatre of Early Music, Schola Cantorum & Daniel Taylor (Analekta)
Pour voir tous les prix Juno pour 2015, veuillez cliquer ici: les prix Juno pour 2015
9 Septembre 2014
Le Refuge du cœur / The Heart’s Refuge
1. Buxtehude, Dietrich (1637 - 1707)
Jesu, meines Lebens, BuxWV 62 (Aria)
2. Bach, Johann Cristoph (1642 - 1703)
Es ist nun aus mit menem Leben (Aria)
3. Schmelzer, Johann Heinrich (1680)
Harmonia a 5
4. Kuhnau, Johann (1660 - 1722)
Gott, sei mir gnädig nach diener
5. Bruhns, Nicolaus (1665 - 1697)
Ich Liege und schlafe mit Frieden
Schola Cantorum et le Theatre of Early Music:
Daniel Taylor, Chef
#1 sur le Classical Soundscan
Canada WholeNote Magazine
Pour écouter Le Refuge du cœur, commander un CD en ligne ou télécharger les fichiers en format mp3, cliquez ici : Commandez maintenant
Voici quelques critiques
Que l’on soit ou non croyant, c’est toujours avec une attitude de profond recueillement que nous nous abandonnons
à l’écoute de la musique des maîtres germaniques de l’époque Baroque. Avec un nouvel album au catalogue d’ANALEKTA,
intitulé Le Refuge du cœur, les ensembles Theatre of Early Music (TEM) et Schola Cantorum, sous la direction du chef
(et contre-ténor parmi les plus en demande à travers le monde), Daniel Taylor, nous plongent encore un peu plus
profondément à l’intérieur du cœur et de l’âme des contemporains d’une époque parmi les plus tourmentées de l’histoire,
celle de la Guerre de 30 ans (XVIIe siècle). Fidèle à sa mission de faire redécouvrir les musiques anciennes,
le TEM ainsi que son fondateur et directeur artistique, Daniel Taylor, dévoilent ici des cantates magnifiques de
5 compositeurs allemands de l’époque baroque, tous réunis dans un même album. Dietrich Buxtehude (1637 - 1707),
Johann Christoph Bach (1642 - 1703), Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (1623 - 1680), Johann Kuhnau (1660 - 1722) et Nicolaus Bruhns (1665 - 1697).
La plupart en langue allemande, ces cantates furent remaniées à partir des formes initialement mises sur pied et sans
cesse renouvelées par les grands maîtres italiens du Baroque, quelques décennies auparavant. Le style distinctif de
l’ensemble, joint à l’expertise et l’enthousiasme de Taylor, mènent à des lectures captivantes et authentiques de ces œuvres,
témoignages musicaux des agonies, des tourments, mais également, des consolations de ce siècle déchiré par la
répression et les conflits internes.
C’est un bond dans le temps de 4 siècles que nous proposent ici les musiciens du TEM et leur chef.
Entre 1618 et 1648, une série de conflits dévastateurs déciment la moitié de la population du continent européen.
Si les croyants trouvent refuge en leur foi et en leur espérance en un monde meilleur, les compositeurs de l’époque
trouvent là une source intarissable d’inspiration. Au cours du XVIIe siècle, les musiciens luthériens vont constituer
un magnifique répertoire de musique sacrée. Les textes mettent en valeur le message du Christ de façon originale et variée.
La mort et la délivrance; la souffrance de Jésus; le désarroi de l’âme sont illustrés par d’ingénieux procédés d’imagerie musicale :
un motif inexorablement répété pour marteler le message dans l’esprit du croyant ; des mélodies très sobres dans une
harmonisation raffinée pour créer un profond sentiment de paix; une succession rapide de contrastes; des voix qui
passent du soprano à la basse successivement pour évoquer la descente au tombeau..
Tout cela traduit bien la charge émotive qui habitait ces créateurs face aux affres de la guerre et de la destruction.
Devenu un organisme sans but lucratif en 2002, le TEM se donne pour mission de faire rayonner la musique ancienne dans
toute sa splendeur, en remettant au goût du jour ses pratiques musicales et la sonorité de ses instruments.
Les excellents musiciens de l’ensemble diffusent et partagent leur passion grâce aussi, à des invités prestigieux
(Nancy Argenta, Robin Blaze, James Bowman, Benjamin Butterfield, Michael Chance, Charles Daniels, Alexander Dobson,
Karina Gauvin, James Gilchrist, Michael George, Peter Harvey, Dame Emma Kirkby, Suzie LeBlanc, Daniel Lichti,
Carolyn Sampson, Michiel Schrey, Stephen Varcoe et Deborah York) et par le biais de tournées à l’échelle nationale
et internationale (France, en Argentine, au Brésil, en Angleterre et en Chine notamment). Sous la baguette du chef,
les choristes d’élite de la Schola Cantorum de l’Université de Toronto, des étudiants de tous niveaux, animés
eux aussi par l’ardent désir de faire connaître la musique ancienne dans sa mouture originale, se joignent au TEM,
pour nous offrir une brillante et authentique prestation. Un peu comme lorsque l’on restaure une œuvre d’un grand
maître pour qu’elle retrouve tout son lustre à nos yeux, Daniel Taylor et les musiciens du TEM font un travail
minutieux pour rendre à ces œuvres toute leur dimension à la fois humaine et historique.
Écouter cet album,
c’est un peu comme redécouvrir un monde ancien sous un jour nouveau.
Marie-Josée Boucher : info-culture.biz
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 février 2015
Le baroque allemand du 17e siècle est souvent synonyme d’austérité. La musique était avant tout
destinée à la ferveur religieuse. Encore en développement, elle trouva, une génération plus tard,
un certain J.S.Bach qui l’amènera à un niveau supérieur. Pourtant, de cette apparente facilité,
de ces couleurs sombres et intériorisées, il y a ici une magnifique invitation à la beauté du moment présent.
Baigné d’une douceur incomparable, tant dans la prise de son que dans la déclamation des chœurs,
ce disque fait l’effet d’une consolation entière. La cantate "C’en est maintenant fini de ma vie" de J.Chr.Bach
(un cousin du père de Bach) est d’une simplicité désarmante, subtilement harmonisée.
Ces strophes répétées inlassablement dans le silence, comme des mantras, produisent chez l’auditeur
un abandon total, une paix résignée. Les paroles "Welt, gute nacht" (Monde, bonne nuit) presque
chuchotées dans la pénombre, possèdent quelque chose de sublime et d’émouvant.
En cela, il faut souligner le travail méticuleux et sensible de Daniel Taylor. Grand chantre lui-même, dévoué à l’art vocal,
il a amené son ensemble tout près des textes liturgiques. De cette proximité, l’auditeur moderne y trouvera sûrement
un sens qui lui fera le plus grand Le baroque allemand du 17e siècle est souvent synonyme d’austérité.
La musique était avant tout destinée à la ferveur religieuse. Encore en développement bien.
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. Taylor!
Le New York Times : S’éprendre des duos et arias exaltants de Handel
Weill Recital Hall
15 novembre, 2011
Musiciens du TEM :
Cynthia Roberts, violon
Edwin Huizinga, violon
David Miller, alto
Amanda Keesmaat, violoncelle
Reuven Rothman, contrebass
Eric Milnes, clavecin
David Jacques, guitare baroque
The Theater of Early Music, a Canadian period-instrument and vocal ensemble led by Daniel Taylor, the countertenor, expands and contracts
to suit the project at hand. Mr. Taylor brought a compact version to Weill Recital Hall for a Handel program on Tuesday,
and though he was listed in the program book as both countertenor and conductor, there was no conducting to be done.
When the instrumentalists had the spotlight -in trim, zesty accounts of a passacaglia (from HWV 432) and the
"Giulio Cesare" Overture - Mr. Taylor left them to it.
The evening was mostly devoted to arias and duets from Rinaldo, Tolomeo, Giulio Cesare and Rodelinda, in which
Mr. Taylor split the spotlight with the soprano Deborah York. They were well matched. In the ebullient Scherzano sul
tuo volto (I look in your beloved eyes) from Rinaldo, Ms. York’s bright, tightly focused timbre perfectly complemented
Mr. Taylor’s velvety tone, and when Ms. York darkened her sound in the mournful duet Io t’abbraccio (I embrace you)
from Rodelinda, the blend was just about perfect.
On her own, Ms. York was at her best in Bel piacere (It is a great pleasure) and Lascia ch’io pianga (Let me weep),
both also from Rinaldo. In Bel piacere, Handel demands an athletic series of barely prepared leaps, which Ms.
York handled so gracefully that she made her ornamentation of the top notes sound natural and comfortable if not
necessarily easy. In Lascia ch’io pianga, one of several tragic arias that gave the program its emotional richness,
she sang with a wrenching dynamic suppleness.
Mr. Taylor matched that quality in several pieces, most notably the lustrous Dove sei (Where are you)
from Rodelinda, where his tone was at its most fully burnished. .......
By Allan Kozinn, NY Times, 16 novembre, 2011
Photo : Karsten Moran pour le New York Times
Tout en intimité: le Theatre of Early Music en concert mardi soir au Carnegie Hall ..
....the performance in Weill Recital Hall gave modern audiences a glimpse into how Handel’s audiences would have consumed this music in coffee houses,
concert halls, and in the home. The one-on-a-part ensemble may have left some in the audience yearning to hear a larger group of players to realize Handel’s sumptuous string parts.
However, the balance between the players and singers was perfectly suited to the size of the sold-out Weill Recital Hall, and created a robust
continuo - which contained more than half of the players!
Arias from three of Handel’s most popular operas in modern revival, Giulio Cesare, Rinaldo, and Rodelinda were featured in
the program. But the true gem of the evening was the aria Se il cor ti perde from Tolomeo sung by Daniel Taylor (countertenor).
The opera itself was little known even amongst the most experienced Handelians in the audience. For this piece, Taylor gave a
charming introduction and explained some of his artistic choices. This helped add to the intimacy of the evening....
In the aria, he mixed his falsetto and baritone wonderfully for dramatic effect, and literally let his hair down in order to match
the affekt of the crazed aria. His cadenzas were bombastic, chilling, and downright ferocious. One could really hear and see the rage
of the character Tolomeo, who in the aria threatens his sister Cleopatra.
...Taylor and his colleague Deborah York gave fresh interpretations to these old favorites. Taylor’s delivery of Cara sposa from Rinaldo was
particularly wonderful, and his entrance on the B natural held for more than four full beats was exquisite. A similar effect is written
into the aria Dove sei from Rodelinda, and Taylor let his audience relish in his gentle messa di voce, beginning softly
and then slowly swelling both in volume and vibrato. In all of his arias, Taylor showed remarkable restraint in his use of vocal embellishments and cadenzas.
The result made his choices to alter the music in da capo repeats highly noticeable and effective.
Deborah York’s most stunning aria, perhaps, was Cleopatra’s Tu la mia stella sei from Giulio Cesare. Her da capo ornaments,
more so than in her other arias, were subtly chosen and highlighted her vocal agility. The gorgeous and expansive Se pietá,
another aria for Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare received thunderous applause from the audience.
True to the ensemble’s name, Theatre of Early Music, all of the music was presented in a theatrical manner,....Taylor, for example, never
stood in the center of the stage during introductory ritornelli. For all of his arias, he made a dramatic entrance from stage left.
Often, he even began singing facing away from the audience, singing to the players......
The style of dramatic presentation also contributed to its authenticity.
Stephen Raskauskas, 17 novembre, 2011
Daniel Taylor et Deborah York interprètent Handel à la perfection
.....all the listener heard was glorious singing, supported by a committed group of instrumentalists. Cynthia Roberts was superb in the role of first violinist,
playing with flare and with an awesome technique. The other instrumentalists were also right on with every note,
including David Jacques who played the Baroque guitar.
Cara Sposa, the best known piece on this program, was touchingly sung by Mr. Taylor.
He has an angelic demeanour which well suits songs of lamentation, and he performed this one effortlessly. Se il cor ti perde, a duet from
Handel’s Tolemeo, is very similar in style to Schezano sul tuo volo. both duets weave the voices in, out and around each other:
the harmonizing is ethereal and almost other-worldly.
The second half of the program opened with the overture to Giulio Cesare, Ms. Roberts and her group put so much spirit into their performance that it
seemed as if a full orchestra was on stage. Tu la mia stella sei followed, a difficult aria that York tossed off with ease, reaching up
to the highest vocal register without undue strain or thinning out.
The group returned to Rodelinda and a more familiar aria performed by Daniel Taylor, Dove sei, a lament made poignantly touching by
Taylor’s attention to each word and meaningful but not overly-emotional gestures. This led into a wonderful and difficult aria,
Se pieta di me non senti from Giulio Cesare. Built on a chromatically descending triplet played repeatedly through the entire piece,
with Ms. York’s impassioned voice doubled or echoed by the strings, this was certainly the most moving aria in the concert, and the
considerable applause that followed was appropriately long.
Taylor then took the stage and graciously thanked the New York audience for giving him the opportunity to play in Carnegie Hall.
It was thrilling to him, but even more so to his mother, who was in the audience. He stated that his natural voice was that of a baritone and
that he was able to use this range in this next aria, Domero la tua fierezza. Loosening his ponytail as he took on the role of the mad Tolomeo,
he tackled this wild aria with all its jumping notes and wide intervals. If there was any question whether this angelic countertenor could belt out
dramatic arias, it was answered here. His exaggerated gestures and emphatic holding of the low notes was tremendous fun after so many rueful songs.
Taylor dedicated the final duet from Rodelinda, Io t’abbraccio, to a deceased friend. Appreciative applause continued until the ensemble
returned to do an encore of their first duet Scherzano sul tuo volto.
Photo : Nan Melville (C) 2011
Et de Milwaukee:
Le Handel du TEM : irréprochable
Taylor and York form a wonderfully complementary duo ..
York sings with a focused, pure sound, making sparing but effective use of vibrato and executing perfectly timed ornaments
with absolute grace. She brings great musical depth and a tremendous range of colors and dynamics to her musical interpretations,
creating a subtle sense of drama in the process. Her soulful, pristine deliveries of arias such as Lascia ch'io pianga from Rinaldo
on Saturday’s program were exquisite.
Taylor has a bigger, more dramatic sound than York, which is remarkably warm and relaxed for a countertenor.
He uses vibrato liberally and is not afraid to color outside the lines of a perfectly refined sound from time to time for musical effect....
Those differing sounds and styles combine to create musical magic in duets. The two singers work together with a
remarkable musical intimacy based on a combination of great musical instincts and the ability to listen and respond to each other.
They give their duets the feel of extremely personal conversations.
Elaine Schmidt, Journal Sentinel, 20 novembre 2011
Early Music Now: Handel, maître d’opera
Countertenor Daniel Taylor, who sang from Handel operas Saturday on an Early Music Now program, is the best (countertenors)
I’ve ever heard. His voice is big, beautiful, rich and agile. He guides it with unerring feel for the sentiments of the words and
the direction of the phrase. He ornaments brilliantly and with a historian’s sense of style. ...
They sang and played selections from Rinaldo, Giulio Cesare and Rodelinda, ...The singers and players understood
and fully realized them....
This music is also extravagantly virtuosic for the singers. Both York and Taylor negotiated fleet scales and arpeggios with
ease and applied the most astonishing ornaments when Handel instructs them to repeat a section.....
Taylor took ornamentation a step further in Domero, from Giulio Cesare. He dropped out of countertenor guise
and into his natural baritone for certain words, to startling effect. A couple of critics have taken him to task for the
inauthenticity of such a stunt. They have a point, as this would not have occurred in Handel’s time - castrati don’t develop baritone ranges.
But this music is first about amazing voices doing amazing things. In spirit, Taylor adhered to Rule No. 1 of late Baroque opera performance
practice: If you’ve got it, baby, flaunt it! ....
... A near-capacity crowd applauded the Theatre of Early Music with gusto....
Tom Strini, 19 novembre 2011
Basilique Notre Dame, Montréal 13 octobre, 2011
Concert très bien reçu par les délégués du International Congress of Human Genetics,
If this is Baroque, please don’t fix it!
Approximately 800 attendees of the 12th International Congress of Human Genetics were treated to a selection from Handel operas
in the magnificent setting of the Notre Dame Basilica. Daniel Taylor, Suzie Leblanc and the Theatre of Early Music delivered a
musical experience that will not soon be forgotten.
Mr. Taylor is touted as Canada’s star countertenor and, while not having had the opportunity to hear from the
rest of the field, it is hard not to believe that this is a case of damning with faint praise. Demonstrating extraordinary control of his instrument
Mr. Taylor conveyed the emotional gamut of the selections, from love and passion to despair and most memorably insane rage (with the requisite flying hair).
It is hard to imagine a more devoted interpreter of this repertoire.
As fine as Mr. Taylor’s performance was, for me the revelation of the evening was the soprano,
Suzie Leblanc. With a rich, pure tone of crystal clarity, Ms. Leblanc evokes the voice and style of her mentor,
the great English Baroque soprano Emma Kirkby. Indeed, in this listener’s opinion Ms. LeBlanc’s vocal quality has
infinitesimally more color while matching the unparalleled musicianship of the former. I am looking forward to
exploring her discography not only to hear her perform the Baroque repertoire, but to enjoy performances of Acadian folk song.
The band, using authentic Baroque performance technique, was sensitive in its support of
the singers and was given the opportunity to shine in two overtures. While all of the musicians were
exemplary and the ensemble impeccable, two were especially noteworthy (pun intended). The 1st violinist Chloe Meyers was
given ample opportunity to interact with the vocalists and was their equal in the antiphonal give and take. The obvious delight in
the interplay of ornamentation between the soloists and violinist consistently put a smile on my face. Contemporary jazz musicians
could take a thing or two from these musicians to employ the next time they are trading fours. Praise is also due the oft neglected
member of most ensembles, bassist Reuven Rothman. With such a small group it is almost impossible for the bass not to dominate when
it is playing, yet the blend with the other instruments was perfect, well done!
Perhaps the finest compliment that can be paid to all the performers was the reaction of the audience. Having attended a number of these events
in the past has conjured nightmares of performing before a ‘gabble’ of geneticists who are absorbed in their quatrain of A, C, T and G
to the apparent neglect of the 12 glorious notes between A and G. Indeed, at the outset, applause was polite if a bit perfunctory,
but by the end the assembly erupted in a standing ovation that testified to the connection between the performers and the audience.
Truly one of the finest performances I have attended and the highlight of the meeting. Thanks to the organizers, particularly Judith Allanson, Secretary-General of the ICHG for their work in arranging this wonderful concert.
Marc S. Williams, MD, Director, Clinical Genetics Institute, Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, Utah