SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Concertos pour flûte
Sonata (Concerto) No 23 in C major [6:54]
Sonata (Concerto) No 24 in G minor [6:56] Sinfonia in G major [5:27]
Sonata (Concerto) No 12 in C minor [7:31] Sonata in F major [6:31]
Sonata (Concerto) No 21 in A minor [10:07] Concerto in F major [6:11]
Sonata (Concerto) No 9 in A minor [10:29]
(Femke Bergsma, Grégoire Jeay (recorders);
Hélène Plouffe, Chloe Meyers (baroque violin); Amanda Keesmaat
(baroque cello); Pierre Cartier (double bass); Sylvain
Bergeron (chitarrone and baroque guitar); Alex Weimann
(organ and harpsichord))/Francis Colpron (recorder, director)
rec. 13-15 October 2006, Saint-Augustin Church, Saint-Augustin
de Mirabel, Québec. DDD ATMA BAROQUE
The sound-world of this disc is instantly charming
and relaxing, with some wonderfully phrased playing in the
opening Adagio of the C major concerto. Scored, like
many of the other concertos on this disc, for recorder, two
violins and continuo, it lies somewhere between chamber and
orchestral music; the forces are small but the overall effect
is of a lightly scored orchestra. The contrapuntal writing
in the fugal second movement is effective and contrasting,
the performers providing an energetic response to the music.
The ensuing Adagio once again demonstrates the musicality
of the recorder playing, before a final Allegro concludes
The works on this disc are all relatively short
and comprised of between three and five brief movements.
The Canadian performers that form Les Boréades have an elegance
of style that is both appropriate and dignified. Their enthusiasm
for the repertoire is instantly infectious, and the production
standards on the disc are high. Founded in 1991 by Francis
Colpron, Les Boréades are based in Montreal and have performed
in North America and Europe. Their style of performance is
based on period practice, and, as is clear from this recording,
they make the music sound fresh and spontaneous.
Providing an interlude to the concerto style,
the Sinfonia for recorder and continuo is well presented,
with the simplification of forces giving the effect of adding
space to the music and clearing the aural palate. I have
often found the recorder lacking in variety; in some quarters
it has never quite thrown off the stigma of a toy instrument
for primary school children. Not so here, though. The musicality
of the performance ensures that interest is maintained, and
the sound that Colpron produces is beautifully expressive.
Contrast is provided again with a return to the
Concerto and larger forces, this time with the organ providing
variety to the continuo sound. The effect of using the organ
in place of harpsichord is quite marked, and the whole feel
of the work is different.
The Sonata for three recorders [tracks 19-21]
opens with a wonderful sound, the three recorders blending
well with the organ continuo to form a choir-like sound.
The players match each other well, and the effect is spectacular.
I also particularly enjoyed the Andante first
movement of the Concerto No. 21 [track 22] at just over
5 minutes duration, this is the longest track on the disc.
Compositionally, this Concerto seemed stronger than some
of the other works, with rewarding evolving dissonances and
a wonderful rhythmic sense in the later movements.
The F major Concerto includes technical displays
in the faster movements, performed with characteristic sprightly
energy and a sense of ease. Some conversational sections
emerge between the violin and solo recorder in the last movement,
performed with charm and conviction.
The final Concerto, Number 9 in A minor, is a
five movement work which concludes the disc with the same
customary poise, elegance and artistry as we have by now
become accustomed to from these fine performers.
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