Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Magnificat in D major BWV 243 [25:38] Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Dixit Dominus HWV 232 [30:12]
Karine Deshayes (soprano)
Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor)
Toby Spence (tenor)
Laurent Naouri (bass)
Le Concert d’Astrée/Emmanuelle Haïm
rec. Paroisse Notre Dame du Liban, Paris, October 2006 VIRGIN CLASSICS 3952412 [56:06]
are vital, often invigorating performances as we have come
to expect from these forces. With Emmanuelle Haïm we can
be assured of incisive commitment and if one senses a French
accent to the readings then so much the worse, maybe, for
our provincialism. What Haïm has sometimes been guilty
of is a degree of excess – in terms of tempo, most obviously,
but also in matters of histrionic, or inappropriate response
to the music. That’s not something that one feels here.
Magnificat is graced by incisive singing, both choral and
solo. The orchestral contribution is just as distinguished,
being lithe and buoyant. Questions of sectional balance
as well as the broader aspect of the tenor of the music
have clearly been attended to with thoroughness. I’m thinking
especially of Quia respexit in which the soprano
of Natalie Dessay and the oboe of - I’m assuming it to
be – Marcel Ponseele conjoin with truly affecting simplicity
in a dialogue of melancholic gentleness. The soloists are
all good though Laurent Naouri, the bass, isn’t quite in
the league of his colleagues; his rather light bass doesn’t
quite do justice to Quia fecit mihi magna. But the
general direction of the music making is exciting, as witness
a dynamic, operatically conceived Fecit potentiam,
a chorus of blistering drive. Toby Spence proves thoroughly
fearless in his taxing aria Deposuit potentes whilst
Philippe Jaroussky floats his unmistakeable counter tenor
legato in his aria. His voice, of course, is very personalised
and some will not respond as happily as I do. The final
chorus is exemplary in its eloquence.
companion Dixit Dominus reveals Haim’s Handelian qualities.
Once more the balance between chorus, soloists and orchestra
is a just one. And once more there’s plenty of alert and
dynamic intelligence on display. One feature of Le Concert
d’Astrée is the high level of the obbligato or solo contributions.
The cellist in the alto’s aria. Virgam virtutis tuae
- presumably Paul Carlioz - proves the point once again.
Here Jaroussky reprises his fine work in the Bach – and
he’s not at all as mannered as he proved to be on a recent
Vivaldi disc of his. Dessay is refined and adroit and Karine
Deshayes is splendid too. Haïm gets the propulsive lower
strings to accent with chiselled brilliance in Dominus
a dextris tuis. Only one or two excessive caesuri spoil
things in any way.
recording, as noted , is first class. And the booklet has
texts in four languages.
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