Bourgie Hall is welcoming a newcomer to the musical world this Wednesday for its next concert. The French ensemble Jupiter arrives with an all-Vivaldi program that will notably feature mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre.
Formed in 2018 only, the ensemble quickly moved up a gear. Because it is not a formation like the others: its founder, the star lutenist Thomas Dunford, surrounded himself with some of the best soloists of his generation, a question of making music with friends, but also to take advantage of his own experience with the big names in the profession.
“I worked with several baroque music groups in France, England and elsewhere in Europe and I learned a lot with people like Raphaël Pichon, William Christie, Philippe Herreweghe and John Eliot Gardiner”, says the French musician, who performed solo at the Montreal Bach Festival last December.
“These leaders are all very different, they each have their own genius. I learned a lot from them, but I wanted to synthesize a bit of that knowledge and bring together some great people to make music the way I wanted to,” continued Thomas Dunford, reached by videoconference at the end. of a rehearsal for a concert in Bonn with the baritone Benjamin Appl.
Why “Jupiter”? “As I love all music, from the Renaissance to today, I called it that in a very generic way. It’s a name that everyone remembers and that allows you to not necessarily be in a straightjacket, “says the lutenist, who describes himself as a” passionate about astronomy and Greek mythology “from a young age.
Playing without a conductor, the orchestra with variable geometry adopts a fairly chamber-like approach. “It’s a different way to play,” Dunford said. When each musician is jointly responsible for the music, he also becomes a little bit of a conductor. It may be less smooth, less perfect, but with a lot more exploration, a bit like in a jazz band. »
“The work mostly happens in rehearsal. It’s a bit like a painter who makes his colors in advance and who, when the inspiration comes, decides to put such a color here or there”, describes the founder of the ensemble.
Thomas Dunford, who took advantage of his stay in Beethoven’s birthplace to admire some of the composer’s manuscripts, offers the following reflection: “The danger of our profession is that we are so respectful of these geniuses that, sometimes, we no longer dare to touch them. What bothered me a little while listening to classical music was a somewhat neutral, disengaged side. »
For his visit to Quebec, Jupiter offers a program inspired by his first album with Alpha. Some of the eight musicians who perform at Bourgie Hall will have their moment of glory, with Vivaldi’s concertos on the program sometimes highlighting the violin, the cello or the lute. And singing of course, with seven performances by Lea Desandre.
Thomas Dunford obviously disagrees with Stravinsky, who once said that the Venetian composer had composed the same concerto 500 times. “Yes there are patterns in Vivaldi, but in Bach too! “, he illustrates with his lute while playing the beginning of the famous Prelude of the Suite for cello no 1 of the German composer.
“Vivaldi, his thing is the sequences of fifths, like Michel Legrand, like many composers, including Bach, who makes them jubilant moments,” he adds.
“This program exemplifies that he is an extremely varied composer. Gelido in ogni vena [by Farnace] has nothing to do with Nisi Dominus, which has nothing to do with Veni, veni me sequere fida [by Juditha Triomphans]… They are very different universes”, concludes the musician.