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Baritone Jonathon Adams and Les Voix Humaines viol consort recorded this moving performance at the McCord Museum in Montréal. The Métis songs, which survived in the memories of travelers from Quebec to the Prairies, are in Michif, French, and English. The earliest songs can be traced back to their European origins, with melodies that are remarkably similar to airs de cour, a form popular in 17th century France, that were often accompanied by viols. We hope you’ll enjoy hearing these beautiful songs, often plaintive, of the Rossignol Sauvage, a voice of the Métis people.
This concert will also premiere in-person at The Cinematheque at 11 AM as a ticketed event. Please note that this concert film is a double billing with Nightingales in the Garden. Purchasing a ticket for Nightingales in the Garden will automatically give you admission to this film as well.
HOW TO WATCH:
The Cinematheque: Purchase your ticket by clicking here.
Jean Boyer (v. 1600-1648)
Que feray-je ? Que diray-je ?
Petit Rossignol Sauvage *
Étienne Moulignié (1599-1676)
Concert des differens oiseaux *
Red River Gigue *
Marc – Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704)
J’ai fait une maîtresse *
Gigue Les petits oiseaux *
*Arrangement by Susie Napper
The nightingale, at liberty to sing of love and longing, is the star of this programme devoted to songs of nature and nurture! Multicultural, the songs, and gigues encompass many aspects of Canadian history with French, Scottish, Irish, and British colours are woven into a complex and beautiful tapestry.
Of their ambiguous status, little is known about the artistic life of the Métis and their unique contribution to Canadian culture during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Métis songs, which thrived in the memories of travelers from Quebec to the Prairies, are in Michif, French, and English. The earliest songs can be traced back to their European origins. With a purely aural legacy and still sung by elderly Métis, the songs are being collected by Lynn Whidden at the University of Manitoba, Brandon. As with most traditional songs, the melody remains fairly constant but the improvised accompaniment changes as styles evolve. The earliest melodies are remarkably similar to airs de cour, a form popular in 17th century France, that were often accompanied by viols.
Music by composers of airs de cour can be found in the private collections of music found in Quebec’s family libraries. Henry Du Mont, Jean-Baptiste Morin, André Campra, Jean-Batiste Lully, and Marc-Antoine Charpentier also composed wonderful viol music some of which are featured in this concert.
Viols in Quebec? The French nuns in the Quebec convents were dedicated to the education of both European and indigenous children. In 1640, Mother Marie de l’Incarnation wrote that one of their indigenous wards, Agnés Chablikuchich had made great progress….in playing the viol. We know that instruments were abundant in Quebec. A cache of twelve viols was found in the vaults of the Hôpital générale in Quebec City during the 19th century. Historically, however, as fashion dictated, most viols were cut down or built up to be transformed into violins, violas, and cellos by the end of the 18th century.
Imagination and creative thinking are intrinsic to a programme dependant on joining the dots! We hope you’ll enjoy hearing these beautiful songs, often plaintive, of the Rossignol Sauvage, a voice of the Métis people!
Jonathon Adams, Baritone
EMV’s 2021 Artist-in-Residence, Jonathan Adams was born in amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton, Canada). Jonathan is a Two-Spirit, nêhiyaw michif (Cree-Métis) baritone and performance artist. In concert, they have appeared as a soloist with Philippe Herreweghe, Sigiswald Kuijken, Hans-Christoph Rademann, Václav Luks, Ensemble BachPlus, Vox Luminis, il Gardellino, and B’Rock Orchestra at Opera-Ballet Flanders. Jonathon is a featured soloist in the film MESSIAH / COMPLEX produced by Against the Grain Theatre and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (2020). Jonathon was a fellow of the Netherland Bach Society in 2020 and performs regularly with Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir. Future solo engagements include recording and concerts with il Gardellino, concerts with Servir Antico, Les Voix Humaines, Ensemble Caprice, L’Orchestre Baroque Arion, Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal, L’Harmonie des Saisons, and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra amongst others.
Thanks to a long term ‘Creating, Knowing and Sharing’ grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, 2021 witnessed the world premiere of Adams’ performance piece nipahimiw / the plaint with collaborators Christi Belcourt, Reneltta Arluk, Evan Ducharme, Susie Napper and Catalina Vicens. nipahimiw / the plaint is slate for presentation at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Vancouver’s UBC First Nations Longhouse, Montreal’s McCord Museum, Quamajuq Inuit Art Museum (Winnipeg) and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
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.