Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Baroque at its best

Posted by Kimberly on October 21, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
October 21 2007, page 2 (401 words)

The Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra’s Jeanne Lamon brought something amazing to Macau last night, with the Musical Director and her group providing an eye-opener of a show to Macau’s music festival audience.
Speaking to the Macau Daily Times prior to the show, Jeanne explained that, contrary to popular belief, baroque music was quite fast.
“It’s popular today because it’s fast, as our lives are fast, with the music short and frequent, perfect for radio,” she said.
Described as Canada’s orchestra on period instruments, the group is currently in its 27th season, having been established in 1979.
Jeanne herself has been at the helm as Director and concertmaster since 1981. With eighteen core members, they perform on either original or modern replicas of the instruments.
The orchestra performs 50 concerts a year at its home base in Toronto as well as providing several free concerts each season.
One aspect of the orchestral group that seems to e the most fascinating are the Inuit throat-singers, a group that is unlike any other.
“Throat singers are very new,” explained Jeanne.
“It’s unusual to hear them as they only tend to perform in their own countries in the far north,” she said, adding that the traditionally, this sort of singing was done by women to pass the time during long winter nights to entertain their children while the men went away to hunt.
It was traditionally done by two women facing each other but now involves men as well.
In many regions, it was banned by Christian priests for decades until the ban was lifted and the style has been popular for the past 20 or 30 years.
The orchestra’s performance of Vivaldi’s pieces was described by Jeanne as “a multicultural take on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons,” adding that each season incorporated a violinist.
She spoke of world music and its place today, saying “it’s very popular today, more than it was before, but I think it’s very unusual to hear the different music played together, each speaking their musical language.
“The seasons have a way of finding a theme that affects everybody,” she added.
As for classical music and the reception it gets in the modern world, Jeanne believed it was a matter of “exposing people to it.
“When there is something like this that is really worthwhile, I think you end up paying for people other than whom you would otherwise,” she said.


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