Tuesday, 10 November 2015

La Simphonie du Marais under their director Hugo Reyne bring Michel-Richard de Lalande Symphonies pour les soupers du Roi alive with stylish performances that bring fine textures, variety, colour and often some exotic moments on this bargain 4CD release from Harmonia Mundi

Louis XIV of France, the Sun King, remains the longest reigning monarch in European history. Born on 5th September 1638, he came to the throne in 1643 and reigned until his death in 1715.

During this time he brought absolute monarchy to its height establishing a glittering court at Versailles and glorifying the monarchy through the arts, patronising such
great literary and artistic figures as Jean Baptiste Moliere, Charles Le Brun, Louis Le Vau, Jules Mansart, and Jean Baptiste Lully.

On the tercentenary of Louis XIV’s death there have been all year long Château de Versailles Spectacles designed to conjure up the artistic glory of the Sun King and helping to revive the magnificent festivals of the Versailles court in the most beautiful locations in the Château and its Gardens. www.chateauversailles-spectacles.fr/spectacles/2015/louis-xiv-year-shows-chateau-de-versailles

Michel-Richard de Lalande (1657-1726) became sous-maître at the royal chapel in 1683, compositeur de la musique de la chambre in 1685, surintendant de la musique de la chambre in 1689 and maitre in 1695 thus establishing himself as one of the most important composers at the French court. He was the leading composer of the late Baroque grand motet as well as stage works from which he drew instrumental symphonies including his Symphonies pour les soupers du Roi.

Harmonia Mundi http://store.harmoniamundi.com  have recently released a 4 CD box set in their HM Heritage series of all twelve of de Lalande’s Symphonies pour les soupers du Roi recorded in 1990 by La Simphonie du Marais www.simphonie-du-marais.org directed by Hugo Reyne www.simphonie-du-marais.org/qui-sommes-nous/hugo-reyne

HMY 2921337 40

With this first-ever complete recording of the legendary Symphonies pour les Soupers du Roy in 1990 Hugo Reyne produced a set of discs as varied as it is comprehensive. It should be remembered that the term symphony was originally used for concerted motets, introductory movements to operas (overtures) and sections within arias. It was only through such composers, such as Sammartini and Haydn, that the modern symphony was developed. De Lalande’s twelve suites of symphonies consist of purely instrumental music, music of a dance like character and instrumental arrangements of vocal music. In these works we find overtures, preludes and airs alongside dance forms such as sarabandes, passacailles, chaconnes, minuets, passepieds, loures, gigues, canaries, gavottes, bourées and rigaudes. Hugo Reyne has retained something of the original nature of some pieces by including a soprano voice.

Hugo Reyne and La Simphonie du Marais open with the Concert de Trompettes where marshall drum thunder out in an impressive Prélude avec les trompettes before taking us through a fine Air pour les mesmes, some lovely woodwind in the Chaconne avec les trompettes, a lively Menuet avec les trompettes and a concluding Fanfare de trompettes where woodwind echo the trumpet theme.

After this terrific start comes the first of the suites of Symphonies pour les soupers du Roi. The 1st Suite opens with an Ouverture where La Simphonie du Marais bring some exquisite very French instrumental sounds. Amongst the many pieces in this suite there are some particularly fine individual instrumental contributions in the Trio de hautbois before a beautifully light and poised Air. Throughout these works Hugo Reyne never misses an opportunity to add colour with castanets adding to the buoyant Sarabande. Later in this suite a Trio de hautbois brings some lovely sonorities and a lively 4th Air complete with a tambourine to add colour.

2nd Suite again opens with an Ouverture that brings more superb sonorities from this ensemble. There are slower, melancholy moments such as in the 1st Air, Prélude, Gracieusement and a lovely gentle swagger in the Chaconne de Villers-Cotterêt where the lovely mellow instrumental blend is pointed up by castanets. The concluding, lively Passepied is beautifully done.

3rd Suite opens with a broad, beautifully sonorous 1st Air. Later in this suite bells rhythmically point up the light and buoyant 2e Air, Gigue and even a piper appears playing the flûtes à bec et loure or cornemuse in the remarkable La Loure. There is a leisurely, stately Grande Pièce en D-la-ré, Passacaille (extradite de l’amour fléchi par la Constance) with lovely textures and which picks up in tempo with some lovely instrumental details.

The 4th Suite has an Ouverture (extraite des Fontaines de Versailles) that has a fine breadth in the opening before gaining a terrific buoyancy later. Within the remaining pieces there is a vibrant, colourful Gigue, a beautifully poised 1st Air, a melancholy little Sarabande and buoyant, vibrant 3rd Air with tambourine.

La Simphonie du Marais bring fine string timbres to the Ouverture that opens the 5th Suite before dashing into the 1st Air with a fine rhythmic pulse. Castanets point up the colourful Chaconne whilst the following Air brings some fine rich, deep string passages. Also noteworthy is the clarity of texture that Hugo Reyne achieves with his ensemble such as in the beautifully paced Sarabande. This suite also has the Fantaisie ou Caprice que le Roy demandoit souvent. (Fantasy that the King often requested) that opens grandly with some wonderful wind textures before picking up for a brilliantly played section.

The 6th Suite, Airs du Ballet de Flore ou de Trianon consists of fifteen pieces commencing with a particularly fine Ouverture that brings a variety of musical lines that flow around each other. There is a light textured, fast flowing Bourrée followed by a Menuet de la Princesse de Blois where an échelette or xylophone can be heard. The lively Bourrée, Rondeau with drums and tambourine is irresistible.

The 7th Suite brings a fine flowing Allemande again with a fine blend of instruments. The beautifully pointed Rondeau is really entertaining with the échelette appearing again. Later there is a joyful Air de mouvement, Vivement, a lovely Trio de hautbois and a Lentement, Trio that opens rather wistfully before picking up rhythmically for a buoyant conclusion.

A beautifully poised Ouverture opens the 8th Suite before an equally poised Air grave. There is a 2nd Air, Vif that is lively and rhythmic with more fine clarity, a Loure en Rondeau that brings a return of the cornemuse and a Chaconne en Passacaille that has a lovely flow and fine instrumental details.

The opening Ouverture of the 9e Suite, Airs du Ballet de Mélicerte is beautifully shaped before a quite beautiful Prélude pour les Muses. Later drums and tambourine appear in the fast moving Passepied before a soprano joins for the Petit Air, ‘Pour Aimer’. There is a stately Grand Air where this band give the music terrific life and a heavily accented 1st Air des Siamois where some exotic instrumental sounds appear.

The 10th Suite Air du Ballet de Fées has a broad, fine textured Ouverture with the soprano joining the later Trio, ‘Dans ces lieux’  followed by a really light textured Gigue. Later there is a finely woven 2nd Air, Gavotte, Rondeau, ‘C'est l'amour’, a colourful Saltarelle and a fast flowing Chaconne with fine instrumental textures.

Another fine Ouverture opens the 11th Suite, Airs du Ballet de la Paix before a Trio, ‘A cette pompe’ brings a gentle swagger. The Air brings some terrific wind sonorities and there is a nicely shaped Gigue, Légèrement and a Symphonie, Trio, "Mais quelle aimable mélodie’ that has a rather grand opening that quickly leads to some lovely instrumental passages. The suite concludes with a beautifully blended
Air, Légèrement.

The 12th Suite, dont les Airs forment le 3e Caprice is rather shorter than the others and opens with a slow dignified Gracieusement before a flowing 2nd Air mineur. There is a beautifully turned Gigue, Gracieusement before we eventually arrive at the concluding lively Air vif that takes off, full of light textures and fine instrumental moments.

La Simphonie du Marais under their director Hugo Reyne are terrific. They bring this music alive with such stylish performances that bring fine textures, variety, colour and often some exotic moments, Hugo Reyne knowing just how to lift these suites to reveal every fine moment.

They receive excellent recorded sound and there are brief but useful notes that give a general idea of the music and its history.

These performances remain the benchmark. Available from Amazon at the price of one CD and only taking up the width on a single CD jewel case, this is a rare bargain.

See also:


No comments:

Post a Comment