November 1, 2014
« The emotive contrasts and technical demands of these diverse sonatas are exploited adroitly by the violonist Tanya LaPerrière, whose fantastic bow work and expressive freedom function in rapturous dialogue with cellist Elinor Frey. Theorbist Esteban LaRotta and harpsichordist Mylène Bélanger provide expert realisations, and the quartet conjure a kaleidoscope of colours, adventurous spontaneity and imaginative continuo realisations in Castello's Sonata prima from the 1629 set. »
David Vickers - Gramophone
Early Music America
September 1, 2014
Named Grand Prize Winner of the 2012 Baroque Performance Competition sponsored by Early Music America, Pallade Musica is clearly an ensemble to watch. Recent concert tours have taken them to Colombia and throughout Canada, and in the coming year they will perform in several prestigious concert series and festivals in the United States, This Montreal-based quartet is made up of four absolutely top-notch players: Tanya LaPerrière (Baroque violin), Elinor Frey (Baroque cello), Esteban La Rotta (theorbo), and Mylène Bélanger (harpsichord and organ).
The focus of Verso Venezia, recorded in 2013, is on canzonas and sonatas by the three 17th-century Venetian masters: Dario Castello, Tarquinio Merula, and Giovanni Legrenzi. This is a very successful recording: the ensemble sound is balanced and clear, the continuo presence is strong and nicely supports the more virtuosic roles of the violin and cello, and the intricate passagework between the latter two is extremely clean, with stylistically accurate and well-executed ornamentation. Pallade Musica convincingly makes music together and the result is a unified and elegant approach to this 17th-century repertory.
The disc's liner notes provide a historical context to Venice as it was when this music was composed. The notes also address the contrasting aesthetic purposes of the two genres present on the disc, the sonata and canzona. Despite the contrasts named, there is an inescapably repetitive and predictable quality to this music, tied to the imitation and recycling of melodic motives and the similar length of each piece. Given this reality, it is essential for any performer tackling this repertory to seek out contrasts and emphasize the rhetoric, to the point where risks are taken in expression and sound quality, all for the purpose of moving the listener. This is a terrific recording. If Pallade Musica takes their playing even a tiny step further in their next recording project, their fans have much to look forward to.
Patricia Halverson - Early Music America
La Scena Musicale
June 1, 2014
Verso Venezia is the eagerly anticipated debut CD by Montreal’s Pallade Musica, Grand Prize winners of the 2012 Early Music America Baroque Performance Competition. This charming album offers a tantalizing glimpse into the sound world of 17th-century Venetian musical culture, highlighting the work of three masters of the era, Tarquinio Merula, Dario Castello, and Giovanni Legrenzi. Important and influential musical figures though they were, their work is not performed often, and Pallade Musica must be commended for making a vibrant case for their work. The programming of the disc is also very intelligent, focusing only on two genres, the Canzona and the Sonata, and, in doing so, highlights the fascinating transition out of the language of the Renaissance and into the Baroque that was taking place in Venice at the time. By the time you get to Legrenzi, the youngest of the three composers on this album, you have a sonata form that would influence later and better-known Baroque masters, from Corelli and Vivaldi, to Bach. This is a fantastic debut by Pallade Musica, and it will be interesting to see where their inquisitive spirit and vibrant playing takes them next!
Pemi Paull - La Scena Musicale
WQXR (New York)
May 27, 2014
Album of the week
This is the first album by Pallade Musica, the latest early-music ensemble to hail from north of the Canadian border. With a Baroque violin, Baroque cello, theorbo and harpsichord, the ensemble focuses on instrumental music by three Venetian composers who were pivotal as the Renaissance period gave way to the Baroque: Castello, Legrenzi and Merula. Each wrote canzonas and sonatas, multipart works featuring an interweaving of lines and textures. Much of the music is more decorous than the late Baroque fireworks of Vivaldi or Corelli, but listen carefully: some poignant moments emerge, as in Merula’s mystical canzona "La Miradoro" or Castello’s intricate trio sonata, "La Foscari." Pallade Musica plays with unfailing polish and taste throughout.
- WQXR New York
Radio-Canada Première | Médium large
April 25, 2014
« Pallade Musica, un ensemble qui réunit quatre musiciens parmi les plus prometteurs de la scène baroque montréalaise.
C’est une grande découverte pour moi (…) c’est une sage décision d’avoir uni leurs force, il y a une espèce d’énergie, ils sont vraiment doués, on ne s'ennuie pas! »
Frédéric Lambert, chronique à Médium large - Radio-Canada première chaîne
Chronique complète disponible pour écoute ici: http://ici.radio-canada.ca/emissions/medium_large/2013-2014/archives.asp?date=2014-04-25