• Steve Ambler

Ensemble La Cigale


Ensemble la Cigale comes to Hudson November 1 as part of the 33rd season of the Hudson Chamber Music Series.

The second concert of the 33rd season of the Hudson Chamber Music Series will take place on November 1 at 4 p.m. in St. James Church Hall, 642 Main Road, Hudson. Members of the Montreal period instrument group La Cigale will present the premiere of a programme of French Baroque music called La Cigale et le Roi Soleil.

The ensemble was formed in 2006 and specializes in Renaissance and Baroque music on period instruments. Their programmes juxtapose formal and traditional styles and explore the links between literature and music. They have played at many early music festivals including last year at the Agapé sacred music festival in Saltillo, Mexico. The group released its first CD in 2013, an album called “Tiorba obbligata” with early Italian works featuring the theorbo (a fretted lute with an extended neck to accommodate extra bass strings).

The theorbo will also be featured in the upcoming concert, played by the group's artistic director Madeleine Owen. Madeleine studied classical guitar before specializing in early music, graduating from McGill's early music programme. She performs regularly as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist, both at early music festivals and on television and radio, and has recorded on the Productions XXI label.

Three other members of La Cigale will play on November 1: Sara Lackie (Baroque harp), Vincent Lauzer (recorders), and Marie-Laurence Primeau (viola da gamba). Sara is one of the few harpists in Canada to specialize in the Baroque triple harp. In demand as a continuo player and accompanist locally and across the continent, she made her solo debut in 2009 at the Sackville Early Music Festival and has recorded on the ATMA Classique and Analekta labels. Vincent is a McGill graduate and the recipient of numerous awards, including being named Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the 2012 Opus Awards. His first solo CD, Passaggi, was released last year.

Marie-Laurence is a versatile artist with an established reputation as a recorder player, Baroque dancer and viola da gamba player. She has performed with several early music ensembles, has recorded with ATMA Classique, and is a recipient of grants from the Quebec Arts Council.

The programme features music by composers associated with the court of Louis XIV, including Marin Marais, Jean-Féry Rebel, Robert de Visée, Jean-Baptiste Lully, and François Couperin. Couperin is famous for his harpsichord music (the programme features a performance of his famous Barricades mystérieuses transcribed for harp), but he also introduced the Italian trio sonata form to France. Originally Italian, Lully is considered the greatest master of the French Baroque style. One of his many trios is featured on the programme. Marais was a master of the viol and the leading French composer for that instrument.

Rebel was a violin prodigy, studied under Lully, and was one of the first French composers to write works in the Italian style, often with complex counter-rhythms and harmonies that were audacious for the time. De Visée played the lute, guitar, theorbo and viol at the courts of Louis XIV and Louis XV. He published two books of guitar music that can also be performed as ensemble pieces.

As usual, patrons will be able to discuss the music with the artists over a glass of wine after the concert. Albums by the group and its individual members will be available for purchase. Tickets will be available at the door ($25, seniors and students $20, children under 14 free), as will season tickets for the remaining three concerts ($70, seniors $55). For more information phone (450) 458-4088. Further information on the Ensemble and its members can be found at http://ensemblelacigale.ca/en/.

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