Couperin’s Trois Leçons de Ténèbres are amongst the small amount of the composer’s sacred music that was published during his lifetime. They are intensely personal, depicting the prophet Jeremiah’s bitter anguish in settings that are quite unique. Also included here are Couperin’s joyful motets Laetentur caeli and Venite, exsultemus Domino, and a remarkable Magnificat.
It is only recently that the cantata Ariane consolated by Bacchus was attributed to Couperin, on the strength of many technical details too complex to be unrolled, but perfectly convincing. It is therefore a kind of first world discography of a work of this great composer that Christophe Rousset gives us, with the superb voice of Stéphane Degout whose impeccable speech allows to understand absolutely every word. There follow two immense apotheoses of the same, that of Corelli dated 1724 and that of Lully of the following year. These are very ample instrumental suites in the style of, with quotations, allusions, jokes of all kinds, in a quasi-theatrical and very descriptive writing approaching a kind of programmed music.
A midprice reissue collecting this young French pianist s three baroque recordings. I fell in love with Tharaud s Rameau disc several years ago and never once missed the rattling sound of the harpsichord. Tharaud points out that Rameau s frequent ornamentation would have served to prolong notes on a harpsichord. This isn t necessary on a modern piano, and there s an incredible delicacy to the pianism here, with the trills and turns played with a barely credible lightness of touch. It s infectious stuff, with the witty character pieces from the Suite in G vivid and alive.
Ce Concert chez la Reine, par les Ombres un jeune ensemble de musique baroque de la nouvelle génération, en résidence à Ambronay, est saisissant de réalisme dans la reconstitution historique authentique. Dès les premières secondes, j'ai eu l'impression d'être dans une salle éclairée par des bougies, entourée de dames en costumes et de marquis emperruqués Louis XV.
This beautiful recording, once long out-of-print, is now remastered in high definition multi-channel hybrid SACD, and is the first album made by Jordi Savall for the Astrée label, now reissued on Alia Vox. With this rare 1975 disc, Savall confirmed François Couperin as a master composer for viola da gamba with affinities to the previous masters of French music. On the recording Mr. Savall plays an authentic 7-string bass viol, anonymously constructed in 17th century France. He is joined by musicians Ton Koopman playing a Gilbert des Ruisseaux harpsichord built in the late 17th century and Ariane Maurette playing a Barak Norman bass viol constructed in London in 1697. Couperin’s music for these colorful instruments is marvelous, contemplative and beguiling. The highly collectible album, a must-have of the Savall oeuvre, is now available again and features a very informative booklet.