03 Paris 1847Paris 1847 – La Musique d’Eugène Jancourt
Mathieu Lussier; Camille Roy-Paquette; Sylvain Bergeron; Valérie Milot
ATMA ACD2 2834 (atmaclassique.com/en)

Most classical music enthusiasts know that Johann Sebastian Bach was, during his lifetime, better known as a church organist and music educator than as the composer of some of the finest and most canonic pieces of Western Art Music. While the classical world has Felix Mendelssohn to thank for not only contributing his own fine work to the aforementioned canon, but for his rediscovery of Bach’s music. The circuitous path that at least some of Bach’s pieces took from dashed-off manuscript sketchings for the pedagogical purposes of instructing his many students, to sacrosanct artifacts of musical genius, says as much about what society values, collects and ordains as symbols of high culture, as it does of Bach’s considerable genius.

Simply put, beauty and musical inspiration abound in exercise and method books, as well as in etudes composed for didactic and instructive purposes. And that is certainly the case here on this fine ATMA recording by Mathieu Lussier, Camille Roy-Paquette, Sylvain Bergeron and Valérie Milot. Collectively, they mine the beautiful repertoire of Eugène Jancourt, a 19th-century French bassoonist and educator, much of which originated in his 1847 method book. While Lussier, who remains a central figure in promulgating the solo bassoon as a concertizing instrument, acknowledges that this recording “may be of interest to anyone wishing to learn more about historically informed wind playing in the 19th century,” Paris 1847 is no archival recording or historical exercise. Rather the pieces, presented here as the first recording entirely devoted to Jancourt’s music, leaps from the speakers with energy, effervescence and a joie de vivre, capturing this unique and beautiful music from such an intriguing place and time in music history.

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