"I concur that everything here is worth hearing. Even if you're not a fan of the galant period, the delicacy of her playing is astonishing, as any one of the slow movements demonstrates, but she's just as convincing when boldness and agility are required..."Gramophone, 01-10-2023
Octavie Dostaler-Lalonde: In 2018, I acquired a beautiful Baroque cello labeled J. M. Alban, fecit 17… a Graz. The instrument is of a smaller size than today’s standard cello, and the sound is silky, malleable and rich. I had heard of the existence of four-string violoncello piccolos (tuned G-d-a-e’) during the 17th and 18th centuries, and soon I decided to try this tuning on my small 18th-century cello. The result was impressive: the instrument’s tone became bright, crystalline and colourful, with an enhanced singing quality on the top string. This new voice of the Alban was an exciting discovery, and I set my mind to recording a full programme featuring my four-string violoncello piccolo.
I first tried it in a lovely sonata for violoncello and continuo by Georg Czarth (which appears on this album), and found that the cello’s tone displayed sweetness and elegance perfectly suited to German Galant music. I selected a number of works where the compass fitted this tuning, and narrowed the lot down after initial reading sessions with Artem Belogurov. I wanted to offer space on this album for his expressive playing and his Stein fortepiano, a copy made by Gerard Tuinman, so I included two pieces for obbligato cello and fortepiano, where the piano has a central role.
The Stein has an action with hammers made of uncovered wooden rings, instead of the leather-covered hammers more commonly heard today: when wooden hammers strike the metal strings directly, they produce a uniquely brilliant and sparkling tone in forte passages, and a gentle cantabile sound when played softly. By engaging the moderator (a piece of felt that lies between the strings and the hammers), Artem introduces an entirely contrasting sound world, perfectly suited for adagios and intimate, delicate passages in an Emfindsamer Stil. While preparing for this recording, Artem, Victor and I have enjoyed exploring expressive means to bring out the full range of sentiments we found in the music, including occasional extemporised ornamentation, cadenzas and continuo harmonisation, the use of melodic rubato (when the melody speeds up or slows down freely around a stable accompaniment) and portamento.
Octavie Dostaler-Lalonde is a versatile musician whose repertoire ranges from the late-17th to the 20th century. She researches and uses techniques and instruments according to the time of the music she plays.
After studying modern cello with Denis Brott and Carole Sirois at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal, Octavie received the Prix avec Grande Distinction in 2011. Following her interest in performance practice, she studied baroque cello with Susie Napper in Montreal and with Viola de Hoog in Amsterdam. As a young musician, Octavie regularly won prizes in national competitions in Quebec and Canada and regularly attended masterclasses and courses with internationally renowned soloists and pedagogues. She received prizes as a soloist at the International Competition “Concours Corneille” in France and the Early Music Competition in Yamanashi, Japan. Her musical endeavors were supported by grants from the Canada Arts Council, the Banff Center for the Arts and the CALQ.
Currently focusing on the historical performance of late Baroque, Classical and Romantic repertoires, she performs recitals regularly with fortepiano player and harpsichordist Artem Belogurov. Together, they took part in the Oude Muziek Festival Utrecht, Festival Montreal Baroque, the International Young Artist Presentation in Antwerp, Festival Royaumont, the Fortepiano Festival Zaandijk, among others. Their first CD will be issued later this year on the label Challenge Classics and is centered around mid-18th century German music for violoncello piccolo.
In Europe, she regularly performs with groups such as Ensemble Masques, Vox Luminis, La Sfera Armoniosa, Il Gardellino, Orchestra of the 18th century, and the Nieuwe Philharmonie Utrecht. She was selected for the 2017 Experience Scheme with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Handel House Talent 2018-2019 and the Monteverdi Apprenticeship 2019-2020. An avid chamber musician, she co-founded the period ensemble Postscript, which has performed during Oude Muziek Festival Utrecht and MA Festival Brugge, among others. While still in Montreal, Octavie performed with many ensembles including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Caprice, les Rendez-vous baroque français, Les Lys Naissants and the chamber groups Epsilon, quintette à cordes, Ensemble Arkea, Ensemble Allogène, Ensemble Paramirabo and the Ensemble BOP. Her recordings can be heard on labels such as Alpha Classics, Passacaille, Challenge Classics, Brilliant Classics and TRPTK.
She was the co-director of Romberg Dagen, a festival celebrating the composer and cellist Bernhard Romberg and the performance of 19th-century music, which took place in Amsterdam in May 2018. Her current research is centered on the performance practice of late 19th and early 20th century through the imitation of early recordings: these experiments are explored on the Romantic Lab blog.
Octavie has the pleasure of playing a Thomas Dodd cello from 1800 on loan from the Nationaal Muziekinstrumenten Fonds of the Netherlands, as well as her own ca.1700 baroque cello by Johann Michael Alban.
I concur that everything here is worth hearing. Even if you're not a fan of the galant period, the delicacy of her playing is astonishing, as any one of the slow movements demonstrates, but she's just as convincing when boldness and agility are required...
A bold debut. Dostaler-Lalonde chooses no common repertoire, but has her eye and ear on sonatas by unknown eighteenth-century greats as Christoph Schaffrath, František Benda and Joseph Benedikt Zyka.