La Tour Baroque Duo will launch the new album “Something Choice and Excellent”on Sunday, November 8th at 2 pm on the Capitol Theatre Main Stage in Moncton. Admission is free of charge. Four CDs will be offered at a special price and a reception in lobby will follow the concert.
The title of this program comes from Johann Sebastian Bach’s 1730 memorandum to the Leipzig town council, in which he refers to the performances of the virtuoso musicians in the employ of King Augustus II in Dresden as being “something choice and excellent to hear”. From 1717, when he first visited Dresden to perform, until his death in 1750 Bach maintained close ties with the leading musicians associated with the Dresden court.
In this fascinating program the La Tour Baroque Duo performs works by Johann Sebastian and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Johann Gottlieb and Carl Heinrich Graun, Johann Adolph Hasse, Sylvius Leopold Weiss, Christian Pezold and Georg Philipp Telemann and explores the personal connections they had with Bach.
Praise for La Tour Baroque Duo
Elsewhere in this issue I reviewed a disc of Handel pieces, Ciel e Terra, which I found discouraging because while adhering to all the principles of historically informed performance practice it seemed completely lacking in spirit or at times as much as real musical impulse. Here is proof that you can apply scholarship to performance practice and still produce a lively and beautiful recording. La Tour Baroque Duo consists of Tim Blackmore (recorders and harpsichord) and Michel Cardin (theorbo). They are based in New Brunswick, Canada, but have played throughout Europe and North America. Throughout this is an engaging recital by two performers who, even while not in the room with you can draw you into their world. An excellently balanced recording with just the right perspective and distance to give you a feeling of intimacy without putting you too close to the instruments rounds it out. Excellent accompanying notes are a plus.
Fanfare, july-aug. 2014
With the exception of two composers here, all of these are well known from the 18th century. The program is varied between pieces for both players and those for one. Though one cannot expect this to be a program of great musical revelations, it is all quite charming. I was particularly taken by the brief piece by Jacques du Phly called La De La Tour, written in honor of the artist of that name and not the man from whom the duo takes its name. The suite for theorbo by Robert de Visée struck me as the major find in the program. Pleasant listening, well recorded.
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The duo ensemble performs these works with grace and ease, emphasizing the often unconventional rhythms and harmonies to keep the pace moving along. Their intonation is without flaw, and they have an excellent sense of phrasing. The recorded sound is quite lively, which makes the ensemble even more vibrant. This is an excellent peek into the world of the French colonies, with its purposeful connections back to the complex society of the mother country. This is a disc that one ought to have to show how music in French Canada was every bit as fine as that done in Europe.
Bertil van Boer
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If up until now I haven’t mentioned Cardin’s name, while repeatedly citing Blackmore’s involvement in these pieces, it’s not because Cardin’s contributions are insignificant. To the contrary, his role in nine out of 15 of these numbers is indispensable, because on theorbo he furnishes the basso continuo parts to these pieces, and in a 10th, Visée’s Suite in A Minor, Cardin has the entire six-movement work to himself. It’s only in the solo harpsichord numbers by Daquin, Rameau, Couperin, and Dandrieu, and in the solo flute suite by Boismortier that Blackmore performs unaccompanied.
Blackmore and Cardin, both individually and together as a duo, are amazing musicians. Their playing, which is something I think I said in my previous review, has a way of transporting one back in time to whenever and wherever their choice of music takes us. This time it’s to late 17th- and 18th-century Bourbon France, and one has the feeling of actually being there while listening to this disc. I simply can’t imagine a more perfectly assembled and soul-satisfying program than the one La Tour Baroque has put together on this CD, nor can I imagine it being more ravishingly played.
The accompanying booklet is very informative, thoroughly source-referenced and documented, and a complete list of the instruments and the tracks on which they’re heard is printed on the last pages of the booklet. There are no superlatives to describe my intense pleasure at listening to this latest La Tour Baroque release. Just get it ASAP.
Fanfare july-aug. 2014