Friday, October 1, 2010

Lully - Divertissements - Laurens, Sempe, Capriccio Stravagante

 


 

 

 

 

Review:

Let it be known that this is one of the best recordings of Lully's music that has been made, and I have heard a lot of them. It even stands proud among the almost infinite number of recordings of Baroque music. OK, that is a bit of an over-statement, but if we exclude Baroque opera and purely instrumental music, and, say, limit ourselves to recordings of French Baroque music, this record can certainly stand with the best. Why? Well, for this reviewer, I am a lover of viola da gamba, and thisJean-Baptiste Lully recording is dominated by the viola da gamba sound -- very gut-string-centered, very mellow, very relaxed, very profound. Music to die to, I would say. Totally different in feeling from the more heavily Lully-ish "Divertissements de Versailles" recording of Les Arts Florissants, which puts more emphasis on the vocals and the beat. Something else to mention is the quality of the harpsichord playing by Skip Sempe (and all of the instrumentalists in the many instrumental tracks), and of course the quality of the soloists singing the French lyrics -- with a definite Monteverdian touch in several of the pieces. The style of the music is very similar to the Lament style that dates from Monteverdi at the latest and influenced the great French viola da gamba composers that Jordi Savall has introduced to the world. But this compositions by Lully dates from before Sainte-Colombe and Marin Marais -- and now I know where a lot of their inspiration came from. Lully's operas are sometimes pretty hard to get into, and we have all read the standard lukewarm or negative evaluations of his music in the older music reference books, but I think it has been fully revealed in recent years that Lully was not unworthy of the incredible trust and incredible resources that the Sun King invested in him.--Amazon

 

ape, covers

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