Friday July 31, 2015 | 7:30pm
Roy Barnett Recital Hall | Map
Michael Taylor, countertenor; Les Voix Humaines; Susie Napper, viol; Margaret Little, viol; Mélisande Corriveau, viols & recorders; Gregoire Jeay, recorders, renaissance flute & percussion; Nigel North, lutes; Sylvain Bergeron, lutes
Pre-concert chat at 6:45 PM with Susie Napper, Nigel North, and Matthew White
A musical drama written by the brilliant, eccentric fop, gamba player, composer, mercenary soldier, and model for Shakespeare’s Sir Andrew Aiguecheak in Twelfth night, the inimitable Tobias Hume!
The Queen’s Delight
Music by Tobias Hume (1580-1645)
A French Almaine (The Duke of Lenox delight)
The Earle of Mountgomeries delight (The Lady Susies favoret)
An Almayne (The Lady Canes delight)
Semper Dowland, Semper Dolens (Nigel)
Cease leaden slumber (The Queenes New-yeares gift)
Musickes Delight (The Earle of Southamptons favoret)
My joyes are comming (The Lady of Bedfords delight)
My hope is revived (The Lady of Suffolkes delight)
My joyes are comming (The Lady of Bedfords delight)
The Hunting Song
The Pashion of Musicke (Sir Christopher Hattons choice)
What greater griefe
The virgins muse (The Lady Arbellaes favoret)
The King of Denmarkes health (The Lady Margarets delight)
A Masque (The Earle of Sussex delight)
A Spanish humor (The Lord Hayes favoret)
The Souldiers Song
A Souldiers March
CAPTAIN TOBIAS HUME, SIR ANDREW AIGUECHEEK or a FOP?
I Doe not studie Eloquence, or profess Musicke, although I doe love Sence, and affect Harmony: my Profession being, as my Education hath beene, Armes, the onely effeminate part of me, hath beene Musicke; which in mee hath beene always Generous, because never Mercenarie. To prayse Musicke, were to say, the Sunne is bright.
Tobias Hume is one of the most colourful characters in the musical lexicon! Born in the 1580s, brilliant viol player and composer, Tobias Hume was a mercenary soldier by trade. He was a sometime officer in the King of Sweden’s army and otherwise leader of the troops of the Russian Emperor in various religious and political conflicts. In old age, he even offered his military services to Parliament promising to crush the raging Irish Rebellion, in his True Petition of Colonel Hume, with a hundred “instruments of war” or, if provided with the complete navy, to bring the king a fortune within three months!
Even in his musical life “which in mee hath beene alwayes Generous, because never Mercenarie”, Hume was in a philosophical battle with John Dowland who felt compelled to write a rebuttal in defence of the lute over the ever-more-fashionable viol.
Hume’s two volumes, The First Part of Ayres (or Musicall Humors, 1605) and Captain Humes Poeticall Musicke (1607), include: “Ayres, French, Pollish, and others together, some in Tablature (like lute notation) and some in Pricke-Song (classic notation)…With Pavines, Galliards, and Almaines for the Viole De Gambo alone, and other Musicall Conceites for two Base Viols, expressing five partes, with pleasant reportes one from the other and for two Leero Viols, and also for the Leero Viole with two Treble Viols or two with one Treble. Lastly for the Leero Viole to play alone, and some Songes to be sung to the Viole, with the Lute, or better with the Viole alone Also an Invention for two to play upon one Viole.”
Eccentricities and exceptional creativity abound in these volumes including what is perhaps the first ever mention of the use of col legno or “drum this with the backe of your bow”! The pieces span the panoply of emotions from the most tender, touching music ever written for the viol to fabulously funny musical humours in which word-painting flourishes! Hume’s compositions were to be the catalyst that determined the predominance of the viol over the lute in England.
It is quite possible that Tobias Hume was the model for Shakespeare’s character, Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night. Sir Andrew, a fashionable, feeble fop, played the “viol de Gambo”, “spoke three or four Languages word for word without book”, sang the wildest canons, drank heavily, swore like a sailor, and dressed to kill! How accurate a portrait of Hume this is we’ll never know!
Even having moved, in old age, to the Charterhouse, Westminster, an establishment to provide shelter for distressed gentlemen “such as had been servants to the King’s Majestie or could bring good testimony of their good behaviour and soundness in religion.” Hume found life hard. He complained to Parliament: “I do humbly intreat to know why your Lordships do slight me, as if I were a fool or an Ass…I have pawned all my best clothes, and have now no good garment to wear…I have not one penny to help me at this time to buy me bread, so that I am like to be starved for want of meat and drink, and did walk into the fields lately to gather Snails in the netles, and brought a bag of them
home to eat, and do now feed on them for want of other meat, to the great shame of this land and those that do not help me… .”
Hume died three years later on April 16th 1645, in the poor house. Fortune was unkind to our hero both personally and musically, but Time has blessed him with worldwide admiration for his musical creativity and sensitivity!
Michael Taylor, countertenor
Acclaimed by critics for his “great virtuosity”, “vocal radiance” and “outstanding voice”, Canadian countertenor Michael Taylor has performed leading roles in operas ranging from the baroque to the modern era, including Tolomeo in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Portugal, Rinaldo in Pallavicino’s La Gerusalemme Liberata in Germany and Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummernight’s Dream in England. Also highly sought-after in concert and oratorio, he recently sang his Lincoln Center debut in New York as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Grammy-Nominated Trinity Choir and performed Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Berlin Baroque at the Berliner Philharmonie.
Michael began singing as a treble at St. Michael’s Choir School in Toronto, where he also studied the violin and piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music. After graduating with a degree in Physics and Neuroscience from McGill University, he took up further vocal studies with a focus on early music. In Montreal, Michael launched his professional career as a countertenor, singing with the Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montreal and as a soloist under the direction of numerous internationally acclaimed artists. Michael subsequently came to Germany to pursue a specialization in opera performance with Jeanne Piland at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein; he has worked with some of the most eminent talents on the early music scene in Europe, including Andreas Scholl, Sara Mingardo and Michael Hofstetter.
Michael is a prize-winner of the Sedat Gürel & Güzin Gürel International Singing Competition in Istanbul and the International Voice Competition Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg in Germany, and was awarded a grant from the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation for Young Canadian Opera Singers. As founder and co-director of the baroque ensemble “The Dansant”, Michael has just released “To Die, To Sleep”, a solo album of opera arias by Handel, Vivaldi and Graun accompanied by period instruments; the album is available via online music stores worldwide.
Les Voix Humaines
Recipients of numerous prizes, Susie Napper and Margaret Little, have thrilled audiences worldwide with dashing performances of early and contemporary music for viols since 1985. Their musical complicity has been compared to the skill of two trapeze artists or the telepathic communion of a pair of jazz saxophonists! They are renowned for their spectacular arrangements of a wide variety of music for two viols and have become a world reference for the music of Sainte-Colombe. Les Voix humaines has toured Canada, USA and Mexico, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, China and Japan, has recorded most of the repertoire for two equal viols and has worked with renowned musicians such as Bart and Wieland Kuijken, Charles Daniels, Eric Milnes, Skip Sempe, David Greenberg and Nigel North.
With colleagues Mélisande Corriveau and Felix Deak, Les Voix humaines Consort has been touring Europe and North America for the past several years. In 2017 the VH Consort toured in Mexico and its next venture is a Scandinavian and Eastern European tour in November.
Les Voix humaines has recorded over forty CDs to critical acclaim and has won prestigious awards (Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, Repertoire-Classica 10, Goldberg 5, Classics Today 10/10, Prix Opus, etc). LVH Consort recordings include Purcell’s complete Fantasias, Bach’s Art of Fugue, Les Voix humaines’ own arrangement of Vivaldi’s Quatro Staggione, “4 Seasons, 4 Viols”, and Dowland’s Lachrimae.
Susie Napper, viol
Cellist, gambist, continuo player par excellence, Susie Napper is known for her colorful, even controversial performances of both solo and chamber repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries. Having spent her childhood in an artistic milieu in London, in her late teens she moved to New York to study at the Juilliard School, then to the Paris Conservatoire. San Francisco followed, where, after a foray into contemporary music, she co-founded and directed the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
Since then, she has spent two decades with a foot on either side of the Atlantic as principal cellist with several groups including Stradivaria in France, the Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal and Les Boréades in Montreal, and the Trinity Consort of Portland. Her concert tours have taken her as far afield as China, Japan, New Zealand, India, the Middle East, as well as most European countries.
As a member of the very active viol duo Les Voix humaines, she has discovered a new facet of musical expression in the form of musical arranging, thus providing an endlessly fascinating new repertoire for two viols. Susie Napper teaches at McGill University, and founded the Festival international Montréal Baroque which is presented in Montreal in June since 2001. She was awarded the Prix Opus 2002 for “Personality of the Year” by the Conseil québécois de la musique.
Her recordings, which include most of the known repertoire for two viols, can be heard on Harmonia Mundi, EMI, Erato, ADDA, CBC Records, Naxos, and most notably on the ATMA label. But her true vocation is not on the concert stage or the recording studio. The kitchen is the center of her domain, where she creates dishes both colorful and controversial for her own pleasure as well as that of her guests.
Margaret Little, viol
Margaret Little was born and raised in Montreal in a musical family, playing violin, piano, recorder and guitar as a child. She discovered the viola da gamba at the age of eleven at the CAMMAC Music Centre and fell in love instantly with the instrument and early music repertoire. After studying science and then visual arts, she came back to music and the viol in her early twenties.
Margaret has been performing since 1975 as a soloist and a chamber musician on the viola da gamba and baroque viola with various groups including the Studio de Musique ancienne de Montréal, Les Idées Heureuses, Arion, Musica Divina, and she founded the viola da gamba duo “Les Voix humaines” with Susie Napper in 1985. She also loves to perform as a duo with Sylvain Bergeron, lutenist.
She has been invited to play with many early music groups as a gambist and baroque violist (such as Cappricio Stravagante, Fuocco e Cenere, Rebel, Four Nations, Trinity Consort, Aradia, The Publick Musick, Les Boréades, Les Violons du Roy, etc.) and has toured in North America, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. She has recorded over 90 CDs and her first solo CD “Senza Continuo” was nominated for an Opus Award.
Margaret Little teaches the viola da gamba and baroque ensembles at the Université de Montréal since 1992 and has taught many young talented professional viol players.
Mélisande Corriveau, viols & recorders
Devotee of Renaissance and baroque music, enthusiast of historic instruments, travel and gourmet food, Mélisande Corriveau is mother to two charming adolescents! Player of recorders, cello, all viols including the pardessus de viol, she has become a virtuoso at l’Art de toucher,as Couperin put it, on her bevy of instruments. She hunts for new repertoire, is inspired by treatises and takes a keen interest in the historic context of music in society and the musical languages the societies created. Her next conquest is to be the violoncello piccolo! Playing with her inspiring colleagues with whom she shares so much extraordinary music, musical cameraderie and close friendship, is at the heart of her musical life!
She feels privileged to work with her companion and duo partner, musical director and keyboardist, Eric Milnes, her consort partners in Les Voix humaines, her group L’Harmonie des Saisons and her European colleagues in Ensemble Masques, all giving her the gift of ongoing fascinating projects and travel to exotic lands, a nomadic life that reflects the music she loves! Gramophone: “Mélisande Corriveau is of the new generation of musicians gifted with great interpretive talent as well as knowledge of performance practice… virtuosity, delicacy and elegance, sensitivity and refinement all in the service of colourful and textured expressivity…” Mélisande Corriveau has recorded extensively on several labels and her recent CD of French 18th century music,Pardessus de viole with Eric Milnes was included in the CBC’s top ten while her ensemble L’Harmonie des saisons was winner of a Juno award in 2016. She plays on a 1691 Barak Norman viol, a Nathaniel Cross cello from 1700, and a pardessus de viole by Pierre Le Pilleur dated 1755.
Gregoire Jeay, recorders, renaissance flute & percussion
Specializing in Baroque flute, Grégoire Jeay frequently performs in Quebec and in Canada, and has played in France, Belgium, Mexico, Turkey, the UK, and the US. He is recognized for his musicality and his expressiveness, as well as for his great skills in ornamentation and improvisation. His virtuosity on the transverse flute is equally appreciated on the recorder and various flutes from around the world. He is a member of several prominent early music ensembles, with which he regularly performs and records, including Tafelmusik, Les Idées heureuses, Theatre of Early Music, Les Voix humaines, Ensemble Caprice, La Mandragore, Constantinople, Skye Consort and La Nef.
He has performed with such internationally renowned artists as Karina Gauvin, Phillipe Sly, Suzie LeBlanc, Emma Kirkby, Marie-Josée Lord, Hélène Guilmette, Daniel Taylor, Luc Beauséjour, Sylvain Bergeron, Simon Standage, Olivier Brault, and Hendrik Bouman. In parallel to his activities as a flutist, Grégoire Jeay composes and arranges soundtracks and other types of works for a variety of instruments.
Nigel North, lutes
Born in London, England, Nigel North has been Professor of Lute at the Early Music Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington (USA) since 1999. Previous positions included The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London (1976-1996), Hochschule der Künste, Berlin (1993-1999) and the Royal Conservatory, Den Haag, (2006-2009).
Initially inspired at the age of seven by the early 60’s instrumental pop group “The Shadows”, Nigel studied classical music through the violin and guitar, eventually discovering his real path in life, the lute, when he was 15. Basically self-taught on the lute, he has been playing and teaching for nearly 50 years.
After hearing one of Nigel’s Bach recitals in London, Julian Bream recalled in 2002 “I remember going to a remarkable recital, one which I wish I had the ability to give: it was one of Nigel North’s Bach recitals, and I was bowled over by how masterful and how musical it was. A real musical experience, something you don’t always get from guitar and lute players and which, in general, is pretty rare.” Recordings include a four CD boxed set “Bach on the Lute” (Linn Records), four CDs of the lute music of John Dowland (Naxos), and a new ongoing series of music by Sylvius Weiss (BGS) and Francesco da Milano (BGS).
Sylvain Bergeron, lutes
Born in Quebec, Sylvain Bergeron has perfected his playing of instruments of the lute family during numerous stays in the United States and Europe with, among other teachers, Paul O’Dette and Eugène Dombois. He is one of the founders and artistic directors of La Nef, which has existed since 1991. Since then, he has been responsible for the creative and musical direction of some twenty productions such as Celtic Christmas, Elegies: Music for the Day of the Dead (winner of an Opus award), Perceval, Montségur (winner of an Opus award), The Garden of Delights, and Music for Joan the Mad.
He is in high demand on the Canadian musical scene as an accomplished performer on the lute and the theorbo and gives more than sixty concerts per season. He has performed and recorded with many renowned soloists, including Emma Kirkby, James Bowman, David Daniels, Magdalena Kozena, Daniel Taylor, Karina Gauvin, Suzie LeBlanc, Vivica Genaux, Matthew White, Agnès Melon, Meredith Hall,
Charles Daniels, Anne Azéma, and Patrizia Bovi.
Sylvain Bergeron has toured the five continents and has performed under well-known conductors. He has performed in concert halls as prestigious as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Salle Gaveau in Paris, the Kennedy Center in Washington, the Frick Museum and the Lincoln Center in New York. In January of 1993 he accompanied famous gamba player Jordi Savall in a series of four recitals dedicated to Marin Marais. He was recently invited to give a series of solo recitals at the Ninth Festival of Plucked Strings in Rabat, Morocco.
Sylvain Bergeron teaches the lute, the baroque guitar, and continuo at McGill University and at the Université de Montréal.