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Sweet misery. The only way to describe Montreal's Ensemble Caprice / Toronto Star review

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Sweet misery. That's the only way to describe this remarkable new album by Montreal's Ensemble Caprice and its leader, Matthias Maute. Most period-instrument ensembles stick to stuff written before the 19th century, but Maute and Co. reach all the way to the present day, adding yet one more layer of intriguing listening to this multi-layered, bittersweet confection.

Rather than programming by period or composer or even genre, Maute has mixed instrumental with vocal in a 12-track album that surveys musical expressions of melancholy and deep contemplation, many of them on a spiritual plane. He has also arranged material for different instruments.

We get Eric Satie's famous Gymnopédie No. 1 and Frédéric Chopin's Op. 28 No. 4 Prélude rendered for period chamber orchestra, with magical results. Using his own musical wits, Maute has fixed one of the great musical forgeries of the last century, Tomaso Albinoni's Adagio. Hearing Charles Ives' music played here makes it so much more friendly and accessible.

This is not only one of the most beautiful classical albums of the year, it is also one of the most inventive.

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