Foursome’s 18-Part Acte III Almost A 10

Review by: David Vernier

quartom

Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 9

When you hear the opening “soldier’s chorus” (“Gloire immortelle de nos aïeux”) from Gounod’s Faust you may be reminded for a moment of something the King’s Singers might have done. But that ensemble is a sextet, and its few forays into opera (the overture to Il barbiere di Siviglia was perhaps best known) were novelty bits with voices parodying orchestral instruments. Quartom, a Montréal-based quartet founded in 2008, performs this program of 18 opera arias, ensembles, and choruses with serious intention to capture the essence of the originals–complete with sung texts–in (mostly) expert arrangements that display the group’s collective and individual virtuosity and stylish presentation.

Far from a “novelty”, the program offers a wide variety of moods and situations, from the lighter–Offenbach’s “Drig, drig, maître Luther”; Verdi’s “Zitti, zitti moviamo a vendetta”–to the sombre (Rameau’s “Hymne à la nuit”; Verdi’s “La Vergine degli Angeli”), the tender (Mozart’s “Un’aura amorosa”), the vivacious (Verdi’s “La donna è mobile”; Bizet’s “Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre”), and the grand (Wagner’s “Pilgrim’s Chorus”). The disc concludes with a “Pot-pourri” of Italian opera arias–by Rossini, Verdi, Donizetti, and Puccini. For me, the only mis-steps are the arrangements of Verdi’s “Dio che nell’alma infondere” and Gershwin’s “Oh Lawd, I’m on my way”, neither of which really suits these four voices or the character of the ensemble, especially relative to the rest of the repertoire. As mentioned, the singing is terrific; the sound is very fine; the texts are printed only in the original languages. It’s hard to imagine anyone who loves vocal music and opera not enjoying this delightful serenade.



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Recording Details:

Album Title: ACTE III

18 Arrangements of opera arias, ensembles, & choruses by Handel, Mozart, Purcell, Verdi, Wagner, Offenbach, Bizet, Gounod, Gershwin, Rameau, others


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