Ensemble La Fenice 20th Anniversary DVD
See www.ensemblelafenice.com for purchasing information or email Marianne Berthet
Cornettist Jean Tubery has been leading Ensemble La Fenice since its founding in 1990. Now to celebrate their 20th anniversary, they have put out a DVD of six performances of 16th- and 17th-century repertoire from live concerts ranging from 2004 to 2010. The performances are what we have come to expect of La Fenice, namely spectacular. The DVD starts off with Bendinelli’s “Andata in trionfo” showing a procession of extra-long straight trumpets bouncing up and down, but still the trumpeters manage to play without a missed note. “Laudate Pueri” from Monteverdi’s Vespers is not a particular brass showcase, but does demonstrate the great range of repertoire with which La Fenice engages. Tubery is nothing less than stunning in his performance of the Rognoni divisions on Palestrina’s “Pulchra es amica mea.” He here takes an interesting approach to performance, playing the division while the large ensemble and choir perform the original motet. His approach was a first for this reviewer, who is more used to hearing the division pieces played as instrumental solos with continuo accompaniment. The result of Tubery’s approach was very musically satisfying. As a bonus, cornett students get a fine opportunity to closely examine Jean Tubery’s slight left side embouchure and finger technique on this cut. Bassani’s “In calligine umbrosa” is also given a lovely reading. The last piece, with Jean Tubery conducting as he did in all the works, was a spirited playing of “Celebrate this festival King Arthur first music Queen Mary’s funerals” by Henry Purcell. Most impressive was the florid trumpet lines beautifully played, but unfortunately on a vented instrument. While this DVD is a promotional item and not commercially available, arrangements could be made to obtain a copy by contacting La Fenice via their website or by contacting La Fenice’s manager, Pierre Cattoni (see links above).
-- Jeffrey Nussbaum