Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 177: Susie

Day 177: Susie, originally uploaded by susanvg.

A full day of music and discoveries. The Baroque Festival has led me to explore places, some quite hidden, in Old Montreal. Each year, Susie takes advantage of a variety of locations to showcase the music and the theme. A concert was held in the Royal Bank of Canada (while business was going on as usual) in a magnificent building dating from the late 1800s.

Bank Ceiling
The ceiling above is only a tiny sample - the marble, the brass, the incredible bronze doors of the elevators - this is definitely worth visiting. The concert, itself, was given by a group of young recorder players - a delightful programme of early music mixed with some contemporary offerings. A master class held in the house once owned by George Étienne-Cartier (one of our fathers of confederation). To hear music in a drawing room is to hear it in the setting for which it was composed.

An incredible concert by the Flanders Quartet in my favourite church followed. The four recorder players play as one - their sounds blending to give the impression of listening to a pipe organ. Their collection of instruments is extraordinary with matched Renaissance instruments, Baroque instruments and all sizes from sopranino to contrabass. Here is just a sample (those played by one of the musicians, not including the larger recorders).

An English Country Dance was then held in Musée Chateau Ramezay built 300 years ago. For my American friend - Benjamin Franklin slept here. You can read about his connection to Montreal and our local English Newspaper here. A large portrait of him hangs in the museum. Many people came to the dance in costume and danced to the live music of Rufty Tufty.
In another room the Quatuor Franz Joseph played in a setting so appropriate for the music. And presiding over it all was Susie - the brains, the inspiration, the creator of this incredible festival. More tomorrow....


  1. Wow they get a good sound out of those early instruments! I clicked on the quartet's website and looked at some videos. I'll bet it sounds even better live in a church with good acoustics. Is that the kind of music you play?

  2. @Tim D - yes but nowhere near as beautifully as they do!