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Livret
Doulce Mémoire

Diapason
1 mai 2014

«On ne saurait résisteraux assauts de charme de Margaret Little, qui articule finement chaque diminution et fait preuve d'une délicatesse insigne dans les variations les plus lyriques. Sylvain Bergeron apporte un soutien complice et souvent inventif, répondant avec goût aux sollicitations expressives de la violiste.»
Denis Morrier - Magazine Diapason

Fanfare Magazine
1 avril 2014

This is one of those lovely discs that comes along every so often in which music from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is performed in a manner suggesting the folk tradition as much as the classical. The content also suggests folk music, because one focus of this CD is variations on popular melodies of the era. La Folia, probably the most famous of these melodies, is performed in a version by an unknown composer that has been taken from John Playford's collection The Division Violin. (“Division,” in the 1680s, referred to the art of variation.) The melody that gives this CD its title comes from a sixteenth century madrigal by Pierre Sandrin. Here, Little and Bergeron play three different works based on that melody: a Duo by François de Layolle, a recercada by Diego Ortiz, and a version by Vincenzo Bonizzi. The variations represented on this CD often take the form of diminutions. “Diminution” refers to the practice of taking the long notes of a melody and dividing them into a series of short notes. These embellishments sometimes obscure the original melody entirely, but if they are sensitively constructed, as they are here, the result has a beauty and eloquence of its own.

Little and Bergeron play together on most of the 17 tracks. On occasion, Little exchanges her treble viol for a bass viol, and the different timbre adds welcome variety to the program. No matter what instrument she is playing, however, Little is always expressive, and always musical in her phrasing. In John Banister's Another Ground, Bergeron is given a solo opportunity, and he makes the most of it: one immediately recognizes that his playing is just as sensitive and gorgeous as Little's. This is one of the CD's highlights. The aforementioned folk tradition really comes into the foreground in Roger de Coverly (another work by an anonymous composer, taken from The Division Violin), which would not sound out of place being played from the bow of a ship sailing down the St. Lawrence River far upstream from Montréal—that is, assuming one of the sailors owned a viola da gamba! I was not surprised to read that Little has performed with La Nef, a Canadian ensemble whose approach to early music has nothing of the museum about it, and everything of the fresh open air.

The combination of viola da gamba and lute is entrancing, and Little and Bergeron are in perfect accord throughout this beguiling program. Perfect for late night listening, perhaps by the light of a candle, Doulce Mémoire leaves sweet memories behind indeed.
Raymond Tuttle - Fanfare

The WholeNote
1 avril 2014

 This CD explores the variation technique known as "diminutions", a concept more commonly known as "divisions". It is explained in the accompanying booklet: "Diminutions were made by dividing long notes of the melody into a series of shorter notes either surrounding the melody note or filling up the interval between it and the next melody note." Many of these were based on madrigals, most famously Cipriano de Rore's Ancor che col partire. Here the artists have chosen one set of variations, that by Ricardo Rogniono. The title of the CD refers to a different madrigal, Doulce Mémoire, by Pierre Sandrin. Here three sets of variations are played: by François de Layolle, Diego Ortiz and Vincenzo Bonizzi.

Although there are only two players, the recital gives us many different textures: of the 17 tracks, seven are for treble viol and archlute, six for bass viol and archlute, two for solo treble viol and two for solo archlute.
The material is largely based on variations on 16th century madrigals, but it is complemented by selections from John Playford's 1684 collection The Division Viol with its variations on popular English songs. No selection of variation would be even half complete without that most popular of songs, La Folia.

Throughout the CD viol player Margaret Little and lutenist Sylvain Bergeron, are superb. I am always careful not to use superlatives too easily but these performances are truly out of this world.
Hans de Groot - The WholeNote