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“MESSIAH” – Ensemble Caprice, Karina Gauvin, Ensemble Vocal Arts Quebec, Matthias Maute, Jaap Nico Hamburger

Excerpts from the Handel’s Masterpiece Featuring Acclaimed Soprano Karina Gauvin

Plus New Works by Composers Jaap Nico Hamburger and Matthias Maute

Leaf Music is proud to present a new recording of highlights from Handel’s Messiah, featuring soprano Karina Gauvin and bookended by two new choral works by Montreal-based composers, Jaap Nico Hamburger and Matthias Maute. Maute also conducts Ensemble Vocal Arts-Québec and Ensemble Caprice in these vibrant new choral recordings, which will be available for purchase, download, and on all streaming platforms as of November 5, 2021.

Matthias Maute conducts Ensemble Vocal Arts-Québec and Ensemble Caprice in performances of Handel’s Messiah throughout the month of December, including Maison symphonique in Montreal (Dec 12) and Palais Montcalm in Quebec (Dec 17). See the complete schedule here

While Handel’s masterpiece has been heard and recorded often, the musicians experienced a feeling of renewal this year: “During the live recording, in an empty hall, it felt like we all were hearing this famous oratorio for the very first time,” says Maute, “After the long drought brought on by the pandemic, this first reunion of choir and orchestra in a wonderful concert hall felt like the rebirth of the spirit of music!”

While sanitary restrictions necessitated a small number of singers – the ensemble has just 12 voices – this is not out of character for the work, though many are used to hearing massive musical forces for the bombastic Hallelujah chorus. Handel himself had a choir of only 16 singers at his disposal when he travelled from London to lead the first performance of his oratorio in 1742 in Dublin. “The flexibility and lightness of a12-voice choir reveals fascinating layers of the work,” comments Maute.

The new recording also includes a short dialogue between Handel and two living composers, with new choral works from the two Mécénat Musica composers in residence, Jaap Nico Hamburger’s Hope and Belief, on a Yiddish text by Isaac Leib Peretz,and Matthias Maute’s O magnum mysterium, which aims to grasp something of the elusive mystery of music. These two works set the theme for the Mécénat Musica Mini-Concerts Santé in the summer of 2020, which delivered music to thousands during lockdown, spreading the magical force of music to help get through the crisis.

Two-time JUNO Award-winning conductor, composer, recorder and flute soloist Matthias Maute has achieved an international reputation. In 2016 he was named artistic director of the Bach Society of Minnesota and in 2019 of Ensemble vocal Arts-Québec. Maute is co-artistic director of the Montreal Baroque Festival and artistic director of the Mécénat Musica Concerts Noncerto concert series and has released 20 recordings on various labels.

Maute founded Ensemble Caprice, praised by The New York Times as “imaginative, even powerful; and the playing is topflight.” Known for an innovative and adventuresome approach to an expanding musical repertoire, Ensemble Caprice has performed in 11 festivals, embarked upon its first Latin American tour, and made its third trip to China in addition to an inaugural tour in South Africa. Instigator of the Mini-Concerts Santé, Ensemble Caprice received the Opus Award for Musical Event of the Year 2020 for this project. Through 1,700 musician hires of professional singers and instrumentalists who perform with 184 classical music organizations, $464,000 were paid directly to the artists who were out of work due to COVID-19.

In 2019, Maute was named Artistic Director of Ensemble vocal Arts-Québec, a professional choir steeped in the grand tradition of choral music in Quebec. The choir’s director, Maute, received one of his two JUNO awards for his album with choir, entitled Vivaldi and His Angels, From 2021 to 2023, Ensemble Vocal Arts-Québec is embarking upon a unique project: Art Choral, the history of choral singing through six centuries.

Renowned for her performances of Baroque repertoire, Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin sings the music of the 20th and 21st-centuries with equal success. She has received many prestigious distinctions, including “Soloist of the Year,” awarded by the Communauté internationale des radios publiques de langue française, the Virginia Parker Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Maggie Teyte Memorial Prize in London. Performing in opera and with symphony orchestras throughout the world, Gauvin boasts a discography of over 50 titles, garnering three Grammy nominations, and multiple JUNOs and Opus Prizes.

Messiah
Release Date: Nov 5, 2021
Physical/Digital Release
Stream/Download HERE

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Maureen Batt & Grej: “Lighthouse”

Released August 6, 2021 Maureen Batt & Grej (Gregory Harrison) are excited to present Lighthouse. Lighthouse is for anyone who has experienced the loss of someone close. It is, above all else, a love story… This  album was created from letters and journals written on a journey through grief. And while the inspiration for the album came from a dear friend, its message is universal. 

This album as a whole represents a journey through grief that has been separated into 9 tracks. The music was composed by Grej (Gregory Harrison) in collaboration with Maureen Batt. The concept is a marriage between classical and electronic genres that utilizes voice, piano, harmonium, synthesizer, and field recordings. 

“It’s hard to believe it, but it’s here. Lighthouse is here. With every project I give my whole heart; and somehow, for this project, I gave even more. It would mean the world to me if you had a listen. This album is for everyone. Gratitude is a big theme here and I have it in abundance.” Maureen Batt

Maureen Batt

Maureen Batt is celebrated for her “rich, warm sound and masterful acting” (Opera Canada). Maureen’s solo career is focused on promoting Canadian classical contemporary repertoire by collaborating with established and emerging composers to commission, première, and re-perform their works. Her debut album, Lady of the Lake includes song cycles by Schubert and Halifax-based composer Fiona Ryan and was nominated for Classical Recording of the Year (2018) by ECMA and Music Nova Scotia. She is also featured on Saman Shahi’s album Breathing in the Shadows with Tara Scott on piano. Aunt Helen, an opera short EP will be released on Leaf Music in May 2021 with Simon Docking on piano. Lighthouse is Maureen’s second full-length album with Leaf Music. 

Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Grej 

Toronto-based percussionist and Dora-nominated composer Greg Harrison is emerging as one of Canada’s finest talents in contemporary music. His extensive resume spans artists and groups including Jeremy Dutcher, Cirque du Soleil, Video Games Live, R. Murray Schafer, and Fred Penner. Described as a “percussion & electronics wizard” (Bob Boilen – NPR Music), Harrison’s performative and compositional style merge his classical music background with his passion for electronic music.

In recent years, Harrison’s commissions have been coveted by Kaeja D’dance, ProArte Danza, Toronto Dance Theatre, Human Body Expression, Architek Percussion, Fifth Wind Quintet, CCDT, Dr. Morris Palter (University of Arizona), Popular Demand Pictures Inc., NB Tourism, and Division 85 Films. Greg is also co-founder of his groups Mear and Taktus marimba duo. 

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Maureen Batt | Grej – Lighthouse
Release date: August 6, 2021
Vinyl & Digital Release
Listen/Buy www.leafmusic.ca/LM243 

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Luminous Voices: “Twelve Sacred Choral Concerti”

Juno nominated chamber choir Luminous Voices along with Spiritus Chamber Choir are excited to present Twelve Sacred Choral Concerti by Ukranian composer Artem Vedel (1767-1808). Vedel is considered one of Ukraine’s ‘Golden Three’ composers of the 18th century; these masterpieces of Ukrainian Classical Choral Music include Twelve Sacred Choral Concerti & Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Under the direction of Dr. Timothy Shantz and with support from the Ukrainian Millennium Foundation, the works of Vedel continue to be associated with the boisterous wave of national rebirth, imbued with a connection and influence of national folklore. 

“It is with an immense amount of gratitude that we release this double-CD recording of choral music by Ukrainian composer Artem Vedel. Vedel’s music is emotionally and politically charged, setting portions of various Psalm texts to great effect. The concerti are nearly all multi-movement works with extensive solo passages performed beautifully by the singers. As an ensemble of mostly English-speaking singers, I am curious to learn how it is received in the broader Ukrainian community. It was an intense project from beginning to end, involving many collaborators and colleagues who devoted a tremendous amount of time and energy into its completion. A journey that began seven years ago with Spiritus Chamber Choir saw its completion with Luminous Voices.” – Timothy Shantz, Artistic Director

Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Luminous Voices | Twelve Sacred Choral Concerti
Release date: May 7, 2021
Physical & Digital Release
Listen/Buy HERE

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“Roots” from New Brunswick quintet, Ventus Machina

Roots, the second full-length album from woodwind quintet Ventus Machina, is set to be released February 12, 2021 through Halifax-based label Leaf Music. Reflecting what has become the strong artistic voice of Ventus Machina, the music has been chosen by the ensemble to represent both their musical heritage and current musical influences. The track list includes eleven arrangements by Ventus Machina’s clarinetist James Kalyn, among them Canadian folk hits by Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchel and Gordon Lightfoot, upbeat tunes by local bluegrass legend Ray Legere, and traditional songs.

Also included in the track list is a new original work by Andrew Creeggan based on Celtic tunes, where the composer uses extended instrumentation—English Horn, alto and bass flute, and bass clarinet—to add to the colours of the woodwind quintet. Guests on the album include Ray Legere, Andrew George, Joël Cormier, Christian “Kit” Goguen and the Atlantic String Machine.Ventus Machina is a New Brunswick based classical woodwind quintet that makes regular excursions into other genres, challenging its members and often surprising audiences while staying true to their classical roots. Ventus Machina’s flexible and dynamic style of performance – presenting themed programs that at once engage, entertain, and educate – has attracted and delighted audiences since the group began in 2011.  In the Weeds, the group’s first full-length CD, was released in September 2017.  It was nominated for two East Coast Music Awards and opened the door for the group to be named Classical Artist of the Year 2018 by MusicNB.

Roots
Release date: February 12, 2021
Listen Now – leaf-music.lnk.to/LM239

ventusmachina.com


Roots, le second album du quintette à vent Ventus Machina, sera lancé le 12 février 2021 sous étiquette Leaf Music, basée à Halifax.  Représentant la vraie personnalité de Ventus Machina, la musique a été choisie par les membres de l’ensemble par qu’elle illustre à la fois leurs influences et héritages musicaux.  L’album inclut onze arrangements du clarinettiste de Ventus Machina, James Kalyn, dont des succès canadiens de Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchel et Gordon Lightfoot, des mélodies enlevantes de la légende locale bluegrass Ray Legere et des pièces traditionnelles.

L’album contient également une œuvre originale d’Andrew Creeggan, basée sur des mélodies celtes, dans laquelle le compositeur fait usage d’une instrumentation élargie – cor anglais, flûtes alto et basse et clarinette basse – pour ajouter de la couleur au quintette à vent.  Les artistes invités Ray Legere, Andrew George, Joël Cormier, Christian “Kit” Goguen et Atlantic String Machine sont également présents sur l’album.

Ventus Machina, quintette à vent de formation classique basé au Nouveau-Brunswick, fait des excursions régulières dans d’autres genres, se mettant au défi et surprenant souvent le public sans jamais sacrifier ses racines classiques.  Ses performances flexibles et dynamiques, souvent thématiques, mais toujours engageantes, divertissantes et éducatives, ont fait le plaisir du public depuis la fondation du groupe en 2011.  In the Weeds, leur premier album, lancé en septembre 2017, a reçu deux nominations aux East Coast Music Awards et ouvert la porte au groupe pour être nommé Artiste classique de l’année 2018 par MusiqueNB.

Roots
Date de lancement: 12 février 2021
Écoutez MAINTENANT – leaf-music.lnk.to/LM239

ventusmachina.com