Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Arion Ensemble, Montreal.

Marais, Mondonville, Quentin, Telemann & Villeneuve
Conversations en musique.
 Atma 2 9717 (Duschene DD 71722) 62'44"

Paris Quartets Nos. 4, 5 & 6.
CBC Records MVCD 1040 61'36"
CBC Records Canada

Concertos for violin (Op. 7/2, 7/6 & 10/1) & flute (Op. 7/3);
Arion Ensemble with Monica Huggett (baroque violin) & Claire Guimond (baroque flute).
Atma ACD 2 2143. 63 mins.

Symphonies des noels
and Concertos comiques.
Atma ACD 2 2192 67'32"
The Atma recordings may be purchased from

These are four recommendable CDs recorded between 1993 & 1998 by a Montreal-based Canadian ensemble which made a memorable impression in London recently [see S&H - April 2000].

The core group of violin, flute, gamba and harpsichord is heard in the Telemann CD . and the Atma/Duschene CD of French chamber music of the 18th C. That mixed programme, including lesser names, varies the standard line up with a suite by Villeneuve (1677-1756) for flute and violin unaccompanied, and with the very attractive 4th Sonate for harpsichord and violin by Mondonville (1711-72), who elevates the harpsichord to the role of soloist, the first to do so in concerted music.

Telemann's Paris Quartets were a runaway success when published in 1738 and have maintained their popularity. The movements have French indications of their characters. They have specialised in French baroque repertoire, and played together for nearly twenty years, and are as closely attuned as that might imply.

For Leclair's concertos the flexible ensemble is enlarged to a dozen strings with theorboe and harpsichord. The English baroque virtuoso Monica Huggett joins them for three of his spectacular violin concertos, which follow Vivaldi's but are musically far more developed, with all the virtuoso possibilities explored. He was described in his time as 'the French Bach'. The third of Op 7 is inscribed 'may be performed on flute or oboe' and is taken here by Arion's flautist Claire Guimond, making a charming interlude.

The Corrette disc is lighter in character, with six strings and harpsichord, and Arion's flautist doubling on percussion. Michel Corrette (1707-95) was immensely prolific through his long life, and published instruction methods for all instruments. His 25 Comic Concertos are based upon popular themes from the stage. The others recorded here bring together 'the best-loved French and foreign Noels' (i.e. Christmas carols).

All these CDs are well played, recorded and documented. My ratings are intended as indication for prospective puchasers, and I would advise strating with the Leclair, which finds Monica Huggett in terrific form. (For the core Arion Ensemble, I have previously recommended their mixed programme Conversations en musique , which linked with the South Bank Centre concert.)


Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

Reviews from previous months

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