var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-3021667-1");pageTracker._trackPageview();




£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


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  
Founder Len Mullenger   
 


Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687)
Divertissements I-III
Guillemette Laurens (mezzo-soprano)
Capriccio Stravagante/Skip Sempé
rec. May 1990, Église Allemande, Paris DDD
DHM 82876601542 [61'18]



BUY NOW 

Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS


Lullyís importance in the history of French baroque is well recognised, yet his music is relatively unheard. Perhaps the genre of the pure French style, in Lullyís time much less influenced by Italy, has still to find a wide listening public. That said, the superficially more austere clavécinistes like Louis Couperin and even díAnglebert seem to figure more in concert and recordings. Considering the vogue for Rameauís operas, it is perhaps surprising that those of Lully, the first major composer of French opera, have not had more attention.


Skip Sempé has put together three Divertissements from Lullyís chamber music and airs, going back to original sources in the absence of modern performing editions. The music is in five parts and Sempé, employs two violins, a viola, a viola da gamba, a cello and a harpsichord (he very reasonably argues for mixing the violin and viol families). Vocal items make up about a quarter of the pieces and half the music on the CD.

So the signs were good and it is certainly true that Lullyís music needs recording. However, listening pleasure didnít measure up to the conception, for several reasons. Firstly, although the instrumentation looks good on paper and Sempé makes a good case for it, the sound was both top and bottom heavy, i.e., there seemed to be a hole in the middle. This impression may have partly been due to the second problem, the sourness of the violinsí sound which was difficult to ignore. Thirdly, the airs and recitatives, sung in Guillemette Laurensís rich mezzo were almost wholly melancholy. Of course, it seems crass to expect otherwise when this is merely a reflection of the taste of the age but I could not help looking forward to some instrumental jollity to dispel the air of self-pity. Regrettably, the sound of those violins soon put paid to my relief. I also found the tempos sluggish; the music could have danced more.

If you are a wholly committed Lullian, and you liked the abrasion of baroque violins before the modern players began to get a good sound out of them, and you can bear to play just a few numbers at a time, then you might like this CD. My advice is, give it a miss and buy Jordi Savallís compendium of Suites on Alia Vox instead. Not chamber music, it is true, but with its colourful textures and vitality, a much better introduction to Lullyís music.

Roger Blackburn

 



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Altus
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb
Classical Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.