Winnipeg musician donates entire library of music to MCO

Two years ago, harpsichordist Eric Lussier offered his enormous library of baroque music to the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.

Harpsichordist Eric Lussier gave his library of baroque music to Manitoba Chamber Orchestra

The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra performs a baroque Christmas concert Dec. 17. (Ivan Hughes)

At this time of gift giving, here's a story about a remarkable gift - an entire library of music. Two years ago, harpsichordist Eric Lussier offered his enormous library of baroque music to the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.

In thanks, the MCO's Vicki Young offered Lussier the opportunity to guest curate a concert. That gave him the chance to mine the rich collection for some of his favourite Christmas music. Two years in the making, the concert takes place Dec. 17.

Lussier's scores filled an entire wall in his home. He spent 25 years amassing the library for his orchestra MusikBarock and he thought the MCO would be the perfect ensemble to inherit it.  

"Now their library is quite complete in the baroque area," he said.

Harpsichordist Eric Lussier chose the music for MCO's holiday concert Dec. 17. (courtesy MCO)
​Lussier feels the MCO plays an extremely important role in Winnipeg's music community.

"They're a bit like a Ferrari to me," he said. "Because they're a chamber group, their size is a bit more maneuverable."

Giving the library to the MCO meant the official end of MusikBarock, although the orchestra still convenes twice a year to perform with the choral group Canzona. As it happens, Canzona will also be joining the MCO in this concert, singing a work by the Czech baroque composer Jan Dismas Zelenka.

For this program, Lussier immediately picked out a work by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, his Noëls pour les instruments.

"I've always been banging the door down about French music in this city and I'd like more of it to be heard," he said. "These noëls are very charming."

As well, he chose the ever-popular Christmas concerto by Arcangelo Corelli.

"You can't possibly NOT do the Corelli Christmas Concerto," he said. The work includes a lovely pastoral movement. "You can almost picture the nativity scene with Mary holding the child and cradling it -- that sense of peace."

Lussier has performed many times with the orchestra and frequently loans his harpsichords for their concerts. On Dec. 17 he will be enjoying the music from the vantage point of the audience.

"For me, it's nice sometimes to just listen."

The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of guest  conductor David Fallis, performs with Canzona at Westminster Church on Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m.



To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.