01 DevienneDevienne - Six Trios, Op.17
Mathieu Lussier; Pascale Giguère; Benoît Loiselle
ATMA ACD2 2583

Although François Devienne (1759-1803) was quite well known in France in the late 18th century, he has received little attention in recent times. Devienne was a very prominent bassoonist and flutist in the royal court of France prior to the French Revolution. For five years he was a member of Cardinal de Rohan’s household orchestra, a group popular with Queen Marie-Antoinette. During the period of the revolution, bands and orchestras changed names many times and Devienne seems to have spent that time in military bands only to emerge as a professor at what is now the Paris Conservatory.

This series of Six Trios Op.17, for bassoon, violin and cello, has never been recorded before. So we owe a debt of gratitude to Montreal bassoonist and conductor Mathieu Lussier for bringing these delightful works to our attention. At all times Mathieu Lussier’s bassoon playing is flawless. His articulation is crisp, clear and dazzling in the fast passages and his tone is full and rich with a lyrical quality rarely heard on bassoon.

While this CD definitely highlights the bassoon, Pascale Giguère on violin and Benoît Loiselle on cello certainly don’t take a back seat here. There is an almost seamless transition between the performers as each takes centre stage with the melody. It’s a unified ensemble. Throughout, the strings make limited use of vibrato as befits the genre. With eyes closed, one is easily transported back to the household of Cardinal de Rohan or the Queen before the violence of the revolution.

In addition to the six trios, the CD contains transcriptions of three airs from Devienne’s opéra comique Les Visitandines. For these selections, the trio is augmented with a viola in the capable hands of Jean-Louis Blouin. These provide a pleasant contrast, yet remain in the spirit of the musical times when they were written and performed.

As one who has, in the past, struggled with the diabolical fingering system of the bassoon, I have two very mixed reactions. Is the virtuosity displayed by Mathieu Lussier a challenge? Do I get my bassoon out of its case and practice diligently as I once did, or do I advertise a bassoon for sale? In the meantime, I will enjoy this CD of delightful happy music performed by true virtuoso musicians.

Pin It
For a list of writings by this author, click the name above
More from this author:

Back to top