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Point du Jour and David Daniels: High Class baroque music-making coming your way (SL)

 

 

 

“Point du Jour” is not a name most of us will instantly recognise, but a quick look at the six musicians that the group comprises soon make us realise what a mouth-watering prospect this European tour actually is.   Not only will audiences be able to enjoy once again the uniquely beautiful voice of American countertenor David Daniels, going back in time to Monteverdi, Scarlatti and even Frescobaldi, but also they will be privileged to hear some of the greatest names in baroque music-making from both sides of the Atlantic.  They include such luminaries as Elizabeth Blumenstock, who enjoys a reputation as America’s premiere baroque violinist, Phoebe Carrai (ex principal cellist of Musica Antiqua of Cologne, and a founder of both Philharmonia Baroque and Musica Angelica in the USA), and, certainly well known in the U.K., the wonderful Elizabeth Kenny, renowned as one of the world’s finest theorbists and lutenists.  Adding lustre to these names are Sharman Plesner and Nadine Davin, both having played as soloists throughout Europe and particularly with Mark Minkowski’s “Musiciens du Louvre”.   These exceptional artists are all brought together by Jory Vinikour, harpsichordist/organist and music director with a biography that reads like a who’s who of baroque music.

 

I caught up with Jory in Zurich recently - where he was working with William Christie on a production of Handel’s Semele, with Cecilia Bartoli in the title role - and was able to find out a bit more about this exciting “new” band. In particular I was interested in how they and David Daniels, perhaps better known for his work in baroque opera, came to be working together on a concert tour showcasing some of the best of the earlier baroque repertoire.

 

The intriguing name “Point du Jour” suggests “a new dawn” or “new beginning” and is, says Jory, “a rather lovely and poetic name, suggested by my closest friend, and taken from one of François Couperin’s harpsichord suites.” He told me that he had known David Daniels for seven or eight years, although it is only two years since the celebrated countertenor suggested to Jory that they should work together on a concert series. They had performed together both in opera in Amsterdam and Paris (Giulio Cesare) and on Daniels’ recording with John Nelson of Handel’s L’Allegro, Penseroso e Moderato.  In those two years, Jory says, he was “incredibly fortunate to be able to secure the services of all my first choice musicians, first time of asking.” They all have busy performance schedules, but have made time to rehearse and develop a delightfully unusual programme that is a refreshing change from the more usual fare of Handel and Vivaldi concerti that we tend to hear in these celebrity vocal/instrumental concerts these days.  Audiences can look forward to instrumental pieces by Marini, Castello, and Frescobaldi as well as the vocal works of Monteverdi and Alessandro Scarlatti. Daniels will also sing a vocal piece by Frescobaldi, Cosi mi disprezzate, new to his repertoire.

 

How did Jory feel about sharing the stage with a starry vocal performer like Daniels?  “I am thrilled – how could it be otherwise when I consider David to be not only the world’s greatest countertenor, past or present, but also one of the greatest living classical singers working today?  His musicianship, his sheer vocal artistry at every level, puts him in a class by himself. I think that this tour will highlight a more intimate aspect of David’s art, while still satisfying – and perhaps surprising a bit – his loyal fan-base!”

 

Like Daniels, Jory Vinikour is a typical example of the modern, jet-setting musician and is equally at home on both sides of the Atlantic.  He went to school in the Evanston area of Chicago, where he was brought up, but lives mainly now in Paris, although he travels frequently to the United States for recitals and other performances – such as his upcoming harpsichord recital at the prestigious “Music before 1800” series at Corpus Christi church in New York City and conducting Los Angeles’ Musica Angelica in late April. He is in demand constantly for recordings and baroque opera orchestras but is looking forward immensely, he says, to the prospect of this European tour with his illustrious colleagues, making beautiful music together on their own terms, in their own way.  “Point du Jour” – a new dawn indeed, and one that should not be missed.

 

You can catch this exciting new venture in baroque music at:

 

Feb. 11, 2007 – Cologne Philharmonie
Feb. 15, 2007 – Amsterdam Concertgebouw
Feb. 18, 2007 – Herkules Saal, Munich
Feb. 21, 2007 – Berlin Philharmonic
Feb. 24, 2007 – Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Feb. 27, 2007 – Barbican Hall, London

 



 Sue Loder

 

 

 

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Contributors: Marc Bridle (North American Editor), Martin Anderson, Patrick Burnson, Frank Cadenhead, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Geoff Diggines, Sarah Dunlop, Evan Dickerson Melanie Eskenazi (London Editor) Robert J Farr, Abigail Frymann, Göran Forsling, Simon Hewitt-Jones, Bruce Hodges,Tim Hodgkinson, Martin Hoyle, Bernard Jacobson, Tristan Jakob-Hoff, Ben Killeen, Bill Kenny (Regional Editor), Ian Lace, Jean Martin, John Leeman, Neil McGowan, Bettina Mara, Robin Mitchell-Boyask, Simon Morgan, Aline Nassif, Anne Ozorio, Ian Pace, John Phillips, Jim Pritchard, John Quinn, Peter Quantrill, Alex Russell, Paul Serotsky, Harvey Steiman, Christopher Thomas, John Warnaby, Hans-Theodor Wolhfahrt, Peter Grahame Woolf (Founder & Emeritus Editor)