I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

Couperin: Apothéoses

One of the highlights from this year's Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music was the concert by Musica Ad Rhenum of music by Couperin: it took his instrumental forms and provided a variety in concert. Therefore, when I was later in FNAC in Paris, I picked up this newish recording of some of the same music by the Ricercar Consort. It includes the * Apothéose de Corelli * Tombeau de Monsieur de Lully of Jean-Féry Rebel * Apothéose de Lulli * La Paix du Parnasse The two apothéoses have stories behind them, of course, with the composers named in them in scenes. They are curious to know; the Tombeau comes without any "text," and the "Paix du Parnasse" isn't terribly different in style from this Les Nations. I found the players from the Ricercar Consort to be quite able and exciting executioners of Couperin's texts. The Tombeau of Rebel, especially, has moments of technical brilliance that was both surprising and extreme. I'm an extreme kind of guy, so I didn't mind the wild bowing. The opening work and the so-called "Concert Instrumental" in 14 mini-movements centered around the great Lulli/Lully, both share a gravitas to the approach. The space in which the recording took place is quite spacious, yet despite being "too live" and not miked close enough, it gives the sense of a giant dome overhead the players. I like it. The only deficiency from this approach is less dynamic range between the instruments, perhaps, but in general, after having just visited several large churches in France, the acoustic here seems quite apropos. What I don't like about this recording is the voice talent. François Morel was hired to speak the titles from the two apothéoses and I while this might have been done with mini-tracks or some other CD technology, I really don't want to listen to the French each time. I want the music, not a spoken description thrown-in too. I realize I can program this out likely with my iTunes, but I'd have preferred they either didn't record the titles or else made it more convenient to de-program those tracks. That aside, I enjoyed this recording that offered me new Couperin to my collection, further enhancing my opinion of his abilities as a composer of instrumental consort music. The Ricercar was up to the task and have provided us with an enjoyable experience, on par with what I heard live at St. John's in Smith Square just last month with Jed Wentz's Musica Ad Rhenum.

Rameau: Pièces de clavecin en concerts

London/Paris 2012