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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

Album review: Vincent Lauzer exalts the lowly recorder in début album 'Passaggi'

By John Terauds on October 29, 2013

lauzer

Vincent Lauzer’s début CD from Quebec’s ATMA Classique label proves that even an ordinary recorder can set off musical fireworks.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds

Recorder players rank pretty low on the musical attention scale, perhaps because this is one of the favourite instruments to hand a young child. You just blow and play eight notes, right?

But there’s a reason the 20-something Lauzer has caught people’s imaginations. The young Quebecker can do things with his instrument that even the most fevered childhood imagination could not conceive. In the case of this album, it’s to play elaborate Italian Baroque solos as exciting as a star violinist’s.

The opening sonata by Dario Castello is a hair-raising cascade of black dots. Here as well as elsewhere on in the 11 tracks, Lauzer’s tone verges on the mildly strident at times, but his technique is remarkable.

passaggiLauzer also gives us a fine survey of styles, from the grand sonata, to more subdued church sonatas, counterpoints and canzonas.

Some very clever contrapuntal work by Girolamo Frescobaldi showcases Lauzer’s exceptionally able (and equally young) accompanist Mark Edwards on the harpsichord.

One of my favourite pieces is the Venetian-style Canzona passaggiata by Angelo Notari (1566-1663) who, ironically, spent more of his working life in London. Here, Edwards has chosen to accompany on portatif organ.

The accompanist’s biggest feat is playing both organ and harpsichord together in one take while accompanying Lauzer in the final piece, a four-part sonata by Johann Heinrich Schmelzer.

In the booklet, Edwards explains that he placed an Italian harpsichord on top of the organ so that the keyboards could be within quick reach of each other — and that he used a pencil to help push some keys while playing others.

You can find all the details, as well as audio samples from this album here.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds
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