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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


Pierre Danican PHILIDOR (1681-1731)
3 Trios pour Hyacinthe Rigaud [55.21]
Trio no. 2 in E minor
Essay sur la Vie et les ouvrages de Monseur Rigaud par Hycanthe Collin de Vermont
Trio no. 1 in G (major and minor)
Extrait des mémoires de Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon
Trio no. 5 in D minor
Les Barricades mystérieuses/Stéphan Perreau
Rec: November 2001
PIERRE VERANY PV700036 [55.21]
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Pierre Danican Philidor is one of the lesser-known musicians of the famous Philidor family. A wind player, like most of his extensive clan, he composed suites for flute and continuo, two flutes and continuo, and flute duets. A member of Couperinís Concerts Royaux, his music is almost purely French, with little foreign influence. Very little of it has been recorded, and this disc attempts a cross-section.

The three suites on this disc are trios for two flutes and continuo. Written for Hyacinthe Rigaud, the preferred painter of Louis XIV, the Sun King, these are very typical of the period, being a series of dance music episodes with a variety of rhythms. The tone is one of peaceful, relaxed pleasure music, with none of the elaborate ornamentation of François Couperin, and no attempt to break new ground.

Unfortunately, the disc loses interest since it contains more than just music. Since there are only about 40 minutes of music, Stéphan Perreau thought it interesting to include two spoken segments, reading texts about Rigaud, or excerpts from the Ďmémoiresí of Saint-Simon - pure filler that adds nothing to the music. Firstly, these texts are not extremely interesting, and there is little value in recording them. Second, they are spoken with such an unprofessional tone that, even if you do understand French, you will quickly skip over them. Perreau may be a musician, but, when recording spoken texts, it is better to use an actor who knows how to use words.

Add to that the totally unreadable notes - partly because of the small, grayish characters, and partly because of one of the most unreadable italic fonts I have ever seen, and all this goes over my head. More thought to the readers would give these notes - a fictional discussion about the Philidors - some value, but, as it is, a magnifying glass would be necessary to read more than a few lines.

While this music is attractive, it satiates but does not inspire. Its ambience is certainly agreeable, but is truly nothing special. While the performers certainly give them utmost, this is a disc that does little more than entertain.


Kirk McElhearn

 


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