Reviews & Previews

Chamber music festival presents another great lineup

Now in its 21st year, the Montreal Chamber Music Festival is offering another varied and tempting program for music lovers.

The reasons for its artistic success are due in no small part to its founder and artistic director, Dennis Brott. His musical vision, mastery as a cellist, friendship with fellow musicians, and flair combine to make this series a must-see on any music lover’s calendar.

Nine of the remaining concerts are at McGill University’s Pollack Hall, with another at Salle Bourgie. They include a variety of string ensembles, the towering soprano of Measha Brueggergosman, the dramatic voice of Ben Heppner, and a Cuban adventure with saxophonist Paquito d’Rivera.

Among the highlights

June 9 Measha Brueggergosman is featured in Golden Voices, with Jens Lindmann, whose trumpet shines gold, along with top-notch string players and a harpsichord featuring music from baroque and classical to modern tango master Piazzola and Duke Ellington.

June 10 Brueggergosman returns with a jazz night title, featuring trumpeter Lindemann with pianist Tommy Banks, drummer Dave Laing, and others.

June 11 Clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein joins a quartet of cellist Brott, violist Barry Shiffman (St. Lawrence String Quartet), violinists Andrew Wan (MSO concertmaster) and Giora Schmidt, playing Mozart, Schubert, and Klezmer.

June 12 A festival first – a matinée program at 3 pm for children and adults combining a commissioned score by Dean Burry with a condensed version of Mordecai Richler’s Jacob Two Two Meets the Hooded Fang in English, narrated by Ben Heppner. The author’s youngest son, Jacob Richler, did the libretto. In the second half, Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat in French, has the same instrumental cast.

June 14 The renowned Fine Arts Quartet – violinists Ralph Evans and Efim Boico, Montreal-born violist Juan Miguel Hernandez, cellist Robert Cohen – and Israeli pianist Alon Goldstein, play Mozart concerti arranged for strings by Ignatz Lachner.

June 15 American pianist Simone Dinerstein plays Bach’s moving and spiritual Goldberg Variations, one of her specialties.

June 16, Israeli Amit Peled will play Pablo Casals’s cello in several pieces, followed by the Fine Arts Quartet, violist Miguel da Silva (Ysaye Quartet) and pianist Alon Goldstein performing Mendelsohn’s Viola Quintet and Brahms sumptuous sextet in B flat.

June 17 Paquito d’Rivera, the renowned Cuban saxophonist, leads a quartet in an evening of Cuban music.

June 18 The great Ben Heppner narrates Enoch Arden, Alfred Lord Tennyson’s epic saga, with piano works by Richard Strauss, played by Stéphane Lemelin – a staged reading produced by Concordia University theatre professor Robert Reid.

June 19 Musicians whose skills have earned them the right to use Canada Council vintage string instruments show their stuff in Sounds like Strads – divertimenti and serenades by Mozart, Dvořák, and Bartók.

Tickets cost $57-$59, students pay half $25-$27. Info: 514-489-7444 or festivalmontreal.org

June 13-17 Free concerts by these same musicians in various combinations are featured daily during lunch-hour concerts starting at noon, Monday to Friday, at Place Ville Marie.

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