L’AUTHENTIQUE AMOUR FRANCAIS
TORONTO CONTINUO COLLECTIVE
The Toronto Continuo Collective is a musical ensemble and pedagogical initiative initially founded in 2005 to help amateur musicians learn to play the improvised figured bass accompaniments (basso continuo) used in baroque music. Over time, it came to incorporate other elements of historically informed performance practice including vocal music using period style, pronunciation and acting/staging technique.
The concert “L’Authentique Amour Français” offered a panorama of music from 17th century France, and had several artistic objectives. First and foremost, it was the ensemble’s first performance of French music, and offered the regular members an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the repertoire, stylistic conventions and harmonic language of the period. For the audience, the concert included a wide array of musical genres including airs de cour, viol consorts, orchestral music and sung extracts from ballets de cour and opera. It also included pieces covering the entire span of the 17th century and by composers virtually unknown to contemporary North American audiences, such as Pierre Guédron, Anthoine Boësset, Etienne Moulinié or Joseph de La Barre, alongside more familiar composers such as Jean-Baptiste Lully and Marc-Antoine Charpentier.
It also offered a unique opportunity to see and hear these works performed with the declamatory pronunciation and stylized dramatic staging used in the 17th century; a practice not adopted by other baroque music and opera ensembles in Toronto. Finally, it aimed to make French musical heritage more present and accessible in a predominantly English-Canadian city.