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Bach: L'Art de la fugue

Musical Toronto
19 juin 2013

 « For me, true enchantment comes from Les Voix Humaines and their foundation-cracking, world-upturning take on The Art of the Fugue.»
John Terauds - Musical Toronto
Cliquez ICI pour lire la version pdf de l'article (en anglais).

ENTREVUE - CBC Music
21 mai 2013

CBC Music s'entretient avec Susie Napper  quelque peu avant la sortie de l'album de l'ensemble Les Voix humaines.
“It’s the most touching, the most personal instrument,” says Napper. “The viol also has a very melancholy sound that I think speaks to people.”
Suivez ce lien pour suivre l'entrevue: http://music.cbc.ca

The Toronto Star
20 mai 2013

★★★★
Montreal-based viol consort Les Voix Humaines has released a magical take on J.S. Bach’s unfinished magnum opus. The composer died in July, 1750 as he was signing his surname into the musical patterns of Contrapuntus 14, the final section in what his son-in-law entitled The Art of the Fugue when it was published the following year. This collection represents the most elaborate contrapuntal musical writing Europe had ever seen. None of the pieces was performed while Bach was alive, and he left no instructions regarding instrument(s), speeds or dynamics.
Mozart, a fervent admirer, arranged it for strings. Glenn Gould performed The Art of the Fugue at the piano. Les Voix Humaines have brought their own special sound to this monument of Western music.
Rather than coldly focusing on the mechanics and mathematics of Bach’s greatest puzzle as Gould did, the sweet ebb and flow of these viols (ancestors of the modern violin, viola and cello) depicts the music as a series of conversations. This music is warmly engaging, suitable as a backdrop for lemonade and hammocks and docksides as well as something to engage the curious mind. Bravo to Margaret Little, Mélisande Corriveau, Felix Deak and Susie Napper for technically masterful interpretations that remind us that Bach was, first and foremost, a human being.
John Terauds - The Toronto Star

Early Music America
1 janvier 2013

The Art of Fugue was conceived as a treatise to demonstrate fugal technique, not as a performance piece. (Pencil in hand as an undergraduate, I once scoured the massive tome to master the secrets of tonal counterpoint.) How unfortunate it is then, that The Art of Fugue is also a wonderful listening experience. Far from pedantic pedagogical plodding, this work of J.S. Bach (1685-1755) delightfully dances through every possible variation and permutation, creating a complete and entertaining musical performance. The challenge remains how to best perform the work. On the organ, as in Wolfgang Rubsam's recordings, or on two harpsichords, as done by Gavin Black and George Hazelrigg, are excellent choices; and there are credible mixed ensemble performances as well. The viol ensemble may be the best choice of all. The instrument may seem anacgronistic, Bach's musical environment favoring the violin instead, but viol ensembles continued to exist through the late Baroque, and the choice has distinct advantages, particularly in voicing the individual contrapuntal lines.
The common practice with keyboards is a non-legato performance, profiling each fugal entrance with a slight hesitation. Here les Voix humaines, a Montreal-based ensemble founded in 1985, has a great advantage: while still retaining a gentle homogeneous texture, each voice is individually accentuated through dynamics and articulation, achieving a sinuous dance-like rhythm. Aggressive bowing techniques, similar to string quartet performance, give individual lines clear articulation. The result is delighful and informative and captures the essence of Bach: technical superiority, rhythmic integrity, and exuberant, playful genius. This recording will be my listening choice from now on.
Lance Hulme - Early Music America Magazine