Les Voix humaines offer fresh interpretation of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

February 20, 2020

Side view of four faces. The scrolls of their viols can be seen in front of them.
Les Voix humaines Consort of Viols will perform at the Lorne Watson Recital Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Pictured, from left to right, are Susie Napper, Felix Deak, Mélisande Corriveau and Margaret Little. (Photo by Tobias Haynes)

BRANDON – Montreal’s Les Voix humaines Consort of Viols is the next ensemble to perform in the pro series season.

Founding Les Voix humaines members Margaret Little and Susie Napper are joined in the viol quartet by Mélisande Corriveau and Felix Deak. They will take to the stage in Brandon University’s (BU’s) Lorne Watson Recital Hall, at 7:30 p.m., on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Having previously recorded their arrangement of The Four Seasons, the musicians will intersperse other thematic works, like Gershwin’s Summertime, into their performance of Vivaldi’s famous composition.

“We’re excited about offering Vivaldi’s famous Four Seasons – with new seasoning!” said Little, who is the niece of BU School of Music Professor Emerita Edna Knock. “The four viols share all the solos, and we include readings of the poems, which were originally published with the music and which help the listener appreciate the piece in a different way: Buzzing bees, barking dogs, wind, sleet and rain.”

“We also include in each (of Vivaldi’s seasons) a seasonal song we love and have arranged to fit in. And the adventure does not stop there: a young Montreal composer, Maurice-Gaston Du Berger has composed a new take on the theme of seasons especially for us,” continued Little.

“So, this will be a completely new experience for the audience, even though they might be very familiar with Vivaldi’s Quatro Stagioni.”

This is the first pro series appearance by the prize-winning ensemble. Les Voix humaines Consort of Viols is recognized around the globe for its innovative interpretations of well-known works. This performance will reveal unusual nuances and colours in Vivaldi’s quintessential masterpiece, while presenting the ensemble’s distinctive musical vision.

“Les Voix humaines’ programme promises an exceptional evening of music-making. In fact, CBCs Disc of the Week host Paolo Pietropaolo stated that ‘Les Voix humaines will make you hear Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as you’ve never heard them before,” said Greg Gatien, Dean of Music at BU. “The arrangement of the first movement of ‘Winter’ will do exactly what Vivaldi designed it to do — It’ll give you chills! Needless to say, I am really looking forward to hearing this version, live on our stage.”

Tickets for the performance at the Lorne Watson Recital Hall, in the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building, are $20 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and alumni. They are available at the door, or in advance in the Main Office in the School of Music.

Under the auspices of the pro series, the BU Clarinet Festival’s Saturday evening concert on February 29 will feature world-renowned clarinetist Franklin Cohen, his daughter, violinist Diana Cohen, who is the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra’s concertmaster, and her husband, pianist Roman Rabinovich. That performance will take place at 7:30 p.m., also in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall.

The School of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of Manitoba, through a Consolidated Arts Programming Grant through Culture, Heritage and Tourism.

Please note that seating in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall is limited and that programmes are subject to change. For an up-to-date listing of pro series and student performances, please visit Events.BrandonU.ca.