No one would have imagined, just a month ago, that the concert handel forever of the Orchester Classique de Montréal would be without its musical director Boris Brott, who disappeared suddenly in Hamilton on April 5 after being hit by a motorist. Located under the direction of Matthias Maute, the evening was not, however, up to the level of this outstanding personality of the Montreal cultural scene.
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Music lovers were greeted by a huge portrait of the maestro projected on the stage of the Salle Pierre-Mercure. Board President Deborah Corber and General Manager Taras Kulich paid him a heartfelt tribute at the start of the concert.
The latter told us, during a phone conversation earlier this week, how much he had developed a “rare” friendship with Boris Brott since his arrival at the CMO 10 years ago. “Even though he was 78 years old, we thought he was going to stay forever,” he said.
“We have lost a truly amazing person. This orchestra, which is after all 82 years old, is a jewel, a jewel for us in Montreal, and I think that the members of the Orchestra, the Board and I are really stimulated at this time to continue its radiation”, he said. aggregate.
Prepared a year ago, the concert, “curiously enough, reflects well who Boris was. Although he was not “baroque”, he was very fond of Haendel, in addition to being attached to the new composers”, specified the administrator, himself a musician.
Matthias Maute, is a baroque. So we expected him to be like a duck to water in the water music of Handel. However, we get the general impression of a crack done by someone who seems to have recently improvised as a director.
Since their beat often lacks bounce, musicians often don’t really know where to stand, thus creating a general vagueness where one doesn’t take advantage of the music, always fearing the next mess.
Fortunately, we are dealing with professional musicians who have seen others. Frighteningly efficient solo violinist Marc Djokic is thus the true hero of the evening, making up for the shortcomings of the master on board with his ascendancy over the other musicians.
Difficult to talk about music with a director who multiplies useless collateral effects (musicians who get up playing, skill contest between soprano Karina Gauvin and excellent trumpeter Alexis Basque on air “Let the bright Seraphim” by Samson, etc.). Histrionics do not make an interpretation.
L’Arabesque by Alexander Brott (father of Boris), a short piece that brings solo cellist Chloé Domínguez into dialogue with the orchestra, seems to contain several interesting ideas, but feels more like figuring out. Same with him Concerto Antico: “Through a smoked mirror”a charming creation by Dutch-Canadian Jaap Nico Hamburger, whose structure evokes Handel, but with harmonies more reminiscent of Hindemith.
Karina Gauvin’s class
The soprano Karina Gauvin, one of the great Handelians of the 21st centuryY century, however brings a certain class to the concert, although the voice of the singer, who this year celebrates her 56th birthday, is no longer at its best.
She obviously always charms with her usual presence and warm medium. But the highs, especially the most powerful ones, show a certain tremolo accompanied by a disturbing jaw tremor.
However, we only see fire when the singer lightens her treble, as in the dangerous air “Sweet bird, who avoids the noise of madness” taken from the ode L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderatoagain by Handel, where he dialogues effectively with the flutist Sophie Larivière.
The concert, finally, was above all a tribute to one of the “exceptional women” celebrated this year by the orchestra, the former minister and teacher Monique Bégin, who expressed her gratitude through a video.