Early Music Vancouver
Les Gouts Reunis

Dates: 17 August 2003
: Recital Hall, UBC

Reviewer: Lois Carter





Artists: Frank de Bruine oboe Viola de Hoog violincello Marc Destrube violin Wilbert Hazelzet traverso Jacques Ogg harpsichord; with Ellen Hargis soprano


Tonight's concert was the last in the series of Vancouver’s 2003 Early Music Festival. One of the most impressive aspects of Early Music’s presentation as a whole is the obvious care with which the repertoire is planned.

The fact that the artists they use are such highly qualified musicians able to interpret this era of composition with great expertise, enables the listener to experience the repertoire at its best. The preconcert notes introduced by Margaret Gries were informative and amusing.

The opening ensemble work ("Deuxieme Recreation de la Musique, op. VIII") with its bright rhythmic clarity is a fine example of Jean Marie Leclair (1697-1746) as a first rate composer. The easy flow from one movement to the next and the beautiful phrases on each instrument was indicative of his exceptional talent. As a capable violinst himself much attention is paid to the individual instrument within the work but comes without a loss in the sense of ensemble.

Although relatively unknown today Jean Barriere was one of the greatest virtuoso cellists of his time. Tonight the performance matched the standard of his written music.

Viola de Hoog’s faultless intonation particularly in the exposed double stoppings, created variety in both tone and dynamic expression. The accompanist Jacques Ogg





made the harpsichord a perfect complement to an outstanding cellist. Johann Weiss is a wonderfully complex composer but I did not find this piece (Sonata in G minor for oboe and basso continuo) to be particularly inspiring. The oboe has some haunting melodies and perhaps it was the occasional unclear note that diminished its impact. The only part of this work that came alive was the animated Gigue at the close where Frank de Bruine exhibited fine technical ability.

To be able to write music that pleases everybody is a talent few possess. Georg Telemann possessed it and was obliged to establish agents in order to protect his music from plagiarism. The "Pariser Quartett in G" reflected Telemann's likeable personality and his sense of humour and the ensemble playing was at its best.

"La Mort de Didon" (The Death of Dido) brought the evening to its conclusion and Ellen Hargis gave an exceptional performance. It is not often that one hears a soprano with such richness in the middle and lower register. Ms Hargis’ talent is aptly described in Continuo as a “National Musical Treasure”. Her stage presence and vocal projection is powerful, her recitative and arias are full of resonance and clarity, but above all she sings with passion. We were privileged tonight.

© 2003, Lois Carter