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I musici de Montreal/Yuli Turovsky
CHANDOS CHAN 10565(3) [3 CDs: 64:32 + 73:05 + 60:03]

Experience Classicsonline

Cellist Yuli Turovsky founded I musici de Montreal in 1983. Since that time he has turned the fifteen member chamber orchestra into the Canadian version of Britain’s Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, racking up more than forty recordings and presenting more than one hundred concerts each season throughout the world. In this collection of sedate slow movements, the orchestra has compiled more than three hours of down-tempo excerpts sure to be a hit in doctors’ offices all over the globe.

There is a great deal in these discs to enjoy. In particular, Turovsky’s amber-toned cello playing, featured in a number of concerto movements is worth the price of admission. There is quite a lot of Baroque music, some of it adapted for modern forces by various skilled arrangers. I musici de Montreal is a modern instrument band, and although they perform with great sensitivity and taste, there is a good deal more vibrato in the string playing than is allowed by the period folk. Frankly, this richness of sound is rather refreshing to these ears and I am reminded of the great body of recordings made by Sir Neville Marriner and the ASMF, Jean-François Paillard and his chamber orchestra, and the Italian ensemble, also known as I musici.

Other fine solos are delivered by Timothy Hutchins, particularly in the gorgeous Largo from Vivaldi’s Concerto in C for Sopranino recorder. Theodore Baskin also turns in some luscious playing in another Vivaldi work, this one an Oboe concerto, also in C. We get a goodly chunk of van Wassenaer’s Concerti armonico, works that for years were attributed to Italian boy genius Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, whose brilliant reputation led to all kinds of misleading publications after his tragic death at the tender age of twenty-six. These are lovely concertos, brimming with melody and rich harmonic suspensions, and the slow movements presented here are lovingly phrased.

Disc two is an interesting hodgepodge of old and new(er) music with items from the baroque sharing the stage with classical period, romantic and even a piece or two by more or less contemporary composers. Each selection, however is geared toward the theme of tranquillity, and after a couple of hours of straight listening, I found myself going a bit numb from all the pretty slowness. With many of the excerpts coming in at under two minutes, I found that I barely had time to enjoy the music before it was over. Perhaps fewer works of somewhat more substantial length would have been a bit more engaging, but then again, that is a rather minor quibble.

Other highlights include a beautiful rendition of the Andante from Josef Suk’s E-flat serenade for strings. Suk is a composer that deserves to be heard more often in the concert hall, and this lovely excerpt is proof of that assertion. Borodin’s gorgeous Notturno from his second string quartet, here arranged by Lucas Drew for string orchestra receives a fine reading as does Samuel Barber’s ubiquitous Adagio, in a performance that spares us the gushy hyper-emotionalism of Leonard Bernstein’s lugubrious old recording.

Serious music buffs will likely thumb their noses at this compilation as it’s obviously designed to appeal to the “pretty music” set. But, for a long evening of peace and quiet, an elegant dinner party or a romantic encounter with one’s significant other, this attractively packaged set contains a lifetime’s worth of mood music, performed by a superb ensemble in top form. One can hope, however that the buyer will be inspired to explore the complete works from which these excerpts are taken. Slow and pretty is all fine and good, but the composers put forth complete sets of ideas in the works represented, and they are deserving of a full hearing.

Kevin Sutton 

CD 1
Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Concerto in c minor for cello and orchestra (Adagio molto espressivo) [7:04]
Count Unico Wilhelm van WASSENAER (1692-1766) (formerly attributed to Pergolesi) Concerto armonico No. 3 in A (Largo, andante) [3:55]; Concerto armonico No. 4 in f (Largo) [4:19]; Concerto armonico No. 1 in G (Grave, staccato) [4:57]; Concerto armonico No. 5 in B flat (Largo, andante) [4:25]; Concerto armonico No. 4 in f (Adagio) [2:50]; Concerto armonico No. 2 in G (Largo affetuoso) [4:35]
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerto in C for Recorder and Orchestra, RV444 (Largo) [4:14]; Concerto in C for Oboe and Orchestra, RV449 (Largo) [2:44]; Concerto in A for Strings, RV158 (Largo) [3:24]; Concerto in g for Two Cellos and Orchestra RV531 (Largo) [3:31]; Concerto in F for Flute and Orchestra RV433 (Largo) [2:14]
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Concerto in D for strings (Arioso) [2:35]
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Concerto No. 2 in F for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 102 (Andante) [6:01]
Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Concerto in B-flat for Cello and Orchestra, G482 (Adagio non troppo) [6:34]
CD 2
Giuseppi TARTINI (1692-1770) Concerto in D for Cello and Strings (arr. Louis Delune) (Grave espressivo) [6:17]
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerto in F for Violin, Organ and Strings RV542 (Adagio) [3:39]; Concerto in D for Two Violins, Cello and Strings, RV565 (Largo e spiccato) [4:11]; Concerto in G for Two Violins, Two Cellos and Strings, RV575 (Largo) [2:56]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Divertimento in B flat, KV 137 (Andante) [4:09]; Church Sonata in F, KV224 [4:24]; Divertimento in F, KV 138 (Andante) [5:56]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Minuet No. 3 in d, D89 [5:40]
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10 (Romance) [1:37]
Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Concerto grosso in a, Op. 6, No. 3 (Larghetto affetuoso) [2:33]; Concerto grosso in e, Op. 6, No. 3 (Larghetto) [1:31]; Concerto grosso in B flat, Op. 6, No. 7 (Largo e piano) [2:43]; Concerto grosso in c, Op. 6, No. 8 (Adagio) [1:27]; Concerto grosso in b, Op. 6, No. 12 (Largo) [1:12]
Rodion Konstantinovich SHCHEDRIN (b. 1932) Carmen Suite (Second Intermezzo) [1:59]
Josef SUK (1874-1935) Serenade in E-flat for Strings, Op. 6 (Andante con moto) [6:10]
Camille SAINT- SAËNS (1835-1921) Carnival of the Animals (The Swan) [3:31]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Album for the Young (The Old Nanny’s Tale) [2:54]
Franz Josef HAYDN (1732-1809) Divertimento in D for Cello and Strings (arr. Gregor Piatigorski) (Adagio) [5:23]
CD 3
Antonin DVORAK (1841-1904) Serenade in E for Strings, Op. 22 (Moderato) [4:54]; Waltz No. 1 in A, Op. 54 [4:46]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Serenade in G for Strings RV525 (Eine kleine Nachtmusik) (Romanze, Andante) [5:44]
Marc-Olivier DUPIN (b. 1954) Fantasia on Arias from La Traviata (Allegretto, Andantino, Allegro Brillante) [11:22]
Franz Josef HAYDN (1732-1809) Twelve German Dances, H. IX: 12 [8:32]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Liebeslieder Waltzer, Op. 52 (Arranged for strings by Friedrich Hermann) (No. 6, No. 1 and No. 9) [4:43]
Alexander Porfir’yevich BORODIN (1833-1887) String Quartet No. 2 in D (Notturno, Andante) (arranged for String Orchestra by Lucas Drew) [9:09]
Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Adagio for Strings [10:17]
Yuli Turovsky (cello); Timothy Hutchins (sopranino recorder, flute); Theodore Baskin (oboe); Alain Aubut (cello); Dmitri Shostakovich, Jr. (piano); Elenora Turovsky (violin); Geneviève Soly (organ); Edvard Skerjanc (violin); Christian Prèvost (violin); Lucia Hall (violin); Benoit Hurtuboise (cello); David Owen Norris (piano); Gregory Shaverdian (piano); Alexander Trostiansky (violin); Ensemble Repercussion; I musici de Montreal; Yuli Turovsky/Maxim Shostakovich
rec. locations and dates not given.



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