Ensemble Caprice

A taste of the baroque

The Arrow Lakes District Arts Council kicked off its season with a baroque group based out of Montreal

The Bonnington Arts Centre was packed on Oct. 25 as people waited to see Ensemble Caprice,

a five-piece baroque group based out of Montreal.

The group performed a series called Salsa Baroque: Music of Latin America and Spain. Baroque

is a style of music composed from 1600-1750.

The stage started out empty. Then, suddenly, the melody of a guitar could be heard, gradually getting louder until group member David Jacques made his appearance and took his place.

Susie Napper came out next, keeping tempo by clapping her hands before reaching her cello. Finally, Matthias Maute, Sophie Larivière and Ziya Tabassian enter through the side door, each playing an instrument. For Maute and Larivière, it was a flute, for Tabassian, a drum. Each one wore striking shades of black and blue.

Closing your eyes, you could almost believe you were in 17th century Spain.

Most of the instruments, from the small ten-pegged guitar with only nine strings, to the fifteen or so recorders used throughout the night, are replicas of the baroque instruments of the17th and 18th centuries. All but one. The cello Napper played throughout the evening dates back to 1698.

Those attending the event didn’t know what to expect when they bought their tickets.

“I was really blown away by the originality and the perfection, and the precision of all the instruments and the way they were played,” said Trish Hueston. “I haven’t heard these instruments live before. I’ve heard violin, cellos and guitars, but not a baroque guitar, not a baroque cello, and not all the other instruments.”

The music blended together beautifully. It was hard to tell where one song ended and another began.

During a particularly lively song, La Folia, Tabassian came out on stage playing the tambourine

while stomping the ground wearing around his ankles bunches of wooden shells with seeds inside

them.

Ensemble Caprice marks the first time the Arrow Lakes District Arts Council has hosted a baroque group.

“We have a retired bassoon player in B.C.,George Zuckerman, who has decided to help artists

from down east come in and do small town B.C.,” said Marilyn Massey, a member of the Arts Council.

“It’s through him that we get groups like Ensemble Caprice. We had a group from him last year and he’s trying to bring in another group next year.”

The group received a standing ovation at the endof the night.

The next event for the Arts Council is the Galena Trio on Sunday, Jan. 10.