Angèle Dubeau & La Pieta | Passion
Analekta 14 Tracks 60 minutes

“What passion cannot music raise and quell!” — John Dryden. It is certain music can quell passion: the ability of music to soothe is well known. But as for music’s ability to ‘raise’ passion, well, I have never noticed a symphony or chamber music audience burst into tears or become inflamed with lust and rage. But listening to some of the selections on this excellent disc has roused some notions in me of how music stirs the mind to feel passion.

Is it not possible that when a bow is drawn across strings it is like a bow drawn across the nerves? Or that the eardrum transmits directly to the heart physical vibrations of percussion, be it from tympani or piano? Consider how many musical effects derive from imitation of the sounds of nature, such as the twitter of birds, the howl of the tempest, the trickle of a stream. Add to that repertoire the hammer of the blacksmith, the rhythm of a train, the mighty rush of an engine, the bustle of traffic. How many musical forms derive from dances that speak directly to the body and cause us to imagine moving in a space with one or many others to celebrate passionate expressions of love and war, victory and defeat?

Vivid dance rhythms are the muscle and bone which move four of the selections: Bizet’s “Carmen”, Enescu’s “Romanian Rhapsody No.1, Sarasate’s “Navarra” Op.33, and Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.” Chopin’s “Nocturne” No.20 emits a soothing tenderness that allows exquisitely refined feelings to emerge trembling from deep sanctuaries of the mind and attain brief expression in the light of day. In Bloch’s “Nigun” one can hear the music of spiritual striving — the saddened spark of love buried in earthly darkness yearning to soar into the light of eternity and be collected back into it.

Angèle Dubeau’s expression is uncompromising, ripe and joyous. Louise-Andrée’s arrangements are arresting and refresh our acquaintance with some of these more familiar tunes. The players of La Pieta perform with gusto, precision and taste. Take this seventh of their CD’s for a walk and let it move you, as it surely can do. Highly Recommended.

Stanley Fefferman for The Live Music Report

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