The World Before Bach: a music night in St. Petersburg State Capella


The World Before Bach: a music night in St. Petersburg State Capella

Ensemble Masques
The World Before Bach

St. Petersburg State Capella. (20, Reki Moiki emb.)
October 1, 2019. 19.00

Sophie Gent, violin
Tuomo Suni, violn
Kathleen Kajioka, viola
Mélisande Corriveau, bass viol
Benoît Vanden Bemden, violone
Olivier Fortin, harpsichords

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The World Before Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach is perhaps the most towering figure in music history. Ever since Felix Mendelssohn revived his works, Bach has never ceased to be with us. From his Passions to The Art of Fugue to his famous “Air”, Bach is so widely admired and beloved that it is hard to imagine ever having been without him. But there was a world before Bach, and in it lived a league of composers on whose legacy he stands. In this program, Ensemble Masques looks beneath the foundations of the great J.S. to uncover the astonishing atmosphere of the World Before — a musical landscape of breathtaking richness, beauty and invention.

Ensemble Masques

Renowned as much for their expressiveness and vitality as for their integrity and precision, Masques is an ensemble which fully embodies the dynamic spirit of the Baroque. The name of the group is inspired by the masques of Elizabethan England — dramatic entertainments that incorporated music, dance and poetry. The six members of Masques each have impressive individual careers, with a collective résumé that encompasses a prestigious roster of international early music ensembles. When they come together, their combined breadth of experience is felt in an uncommon interpretive depth, bound together by an equally uncommon chemistry which continues to mesmerize audiences and critics alike.

A chamber group without conductor, Masques benefits from the creative involvement of each member. Their shared curiosity has lead them, and their audiences, along an ever-evolving path of discovery. From their deep immersion into the fascinating world of 17th century German music, to the unveiling of Telemann’s universalism, humour and humanism, to their interest in the initiatory journey of “The Grand Tour,” Masques’ artistic choices are underpinned by the same appetite for trade, blending, borrowing and mixing that was the very breath of the Baroque era itself. It is a spirit reflected in the diverse nationalities of Masques’ musicians, who hail from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland and France — and through their playing, made new.

Masques’s concert schedule has taken them to Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Poland and Austria; to The Netherlands at Amsterdam’s Musiekgebouw and Utrecht’s renowned Early Music Festival; to Belgium at Brussels’ Bozar, Antwerp’s AMUZ and Gent’s Bijloke. They have also appeared in most major centres in Canada and the United States, including New York, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Los Angeles. Upcoming projects include concerts as part of the Folles Journées en région, in Nantes & Tokyo, the Cité de la Voix in Vézelay, the Festival de Saintes, the Heidelberger Frühling, the Festival de Wallonie and a tour of the United Kingdom & Finland.

An exclusive artist for the ALPHA label, their discs dedicated to17th century Austrian composers Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and the almost unknown Romanus Weichlein have enjoyed unanimous critical praise, between them receiving the Diapason d’Or, the “ffff” Telerama, the two “Chocs” de Classica and Gramophone Magazine’s “Editor’s Choice” award. Most recently, they have celebrated the music of Georg Philipp Telemann with an acclaimed recording of his Theatrical Overture-Suites, in honour of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death in 1767. Other critically acclaimed albums have been recorded on the ATMA, Dorian and Analekta labels. Two forthcoming recording projects for ALPHA are slated for release in 2019. Mécénat Musical Société Générale is the primary sponsor of Ensemble Masques.