Le livre des Mélancolies

Jean-Guy Boisvert, clarinet and Quatuor Bozzini

ATMA Classique

Jean-Guy Boisvert, clarinet and Quatuor Bozzini (Clemes Merkel, Nadia Francavilla, violins; Stéphanie Bozzini, viola; Isabelle Bozzini, cello)
…River to the Ocean…, Piotr Grella-Mozejko
Le livre des Mélancolies, Jean Lesage
Slow Dances, Tim Brady

These three works for clarinet and string quartet by contemporary Canadian composers (Grella-Mozejko was born in Poland but lives in Canada) are lithe and supple compositions which have been flawlessly executed by the performers. …River to the Ocean… is a haunting and colorful journey with an organic formal process (even the jarringly bright major chords sound natural and justified, although surprising).

Le livre des Mélancolies is a more tangled and twisted chamber piece than its predecessor. The string quartet is more actively engaged with the clarinet sound which makes the clarinet feel less like a soloist and more like another timbral possibility of the ensemble. Speaking of colors, they abound in this work (and the disc as a whole). Each of the three movements stays in a largely meditative emotional space, although each does so in its own sumptuous manner.

The four movement Slow Dances harnesses more direct energy than the previous two pieces. Especially in the second movement, “A Sort of Tango,” there is finally some aggression and power to jar me out of the haze created by the earlier pieces. Don’t get me wrong, I was in a blissful sort of absinthe haze. It was nice to be shaken out of it by a tango (of any sort).

Each of these three pieces is performed with great care, color, and musicality. Quatuor Bozzini makes easy work of the constantly shifting timbral demands in each piece and Jean-Guy Boisvert matches the ensemble at every single point along the way.

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