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|Nicolas CHÉDEVILLE (1705-1792)
Le Printems ou Les
Concerto in C 'Le Printems' [9:28]
Concerto in c 'Les Plaisirs de l'Été' [9:12]
Concerto in g minor 'La Moisson' [9:05]
Concerto in G 'L'Automne' [9:58]
Concerto in C 'Les Plaisirs de St. Martin' [8:41]
Concerto in c minor 'L'Hiver' [7:48]
Les Eclairs de Musique (Matthias
Loibner (hurdy-gurdy), Chiara de Ziller (recorder), Pietro Giudice
(oboe), Enrico Casazza (violin), Carlo Zanardi (cello), Fabio Conte
(violone), Pietro Prosser (guitar), Chiara de Zuani
rec. September 2001,
Abbazia of Permunia, Padova, Italy. DDD
ARTS 476698 [54:15]
Arranging music was a very wide-spread practice in the 18th century.
The reasons were various: sometimes musicians made arrangements
in order to be able to play music they liked on their own instrument.
Sometimes publishers made arrangements to increase sales. But
the 18th century also saw the emergence of the bourgeoisie as
an important factor in cultural life. As playing an instrument
was part of their lifestyle there was an increasing demand for
music of good quality but not too technically complicated. After
all members of the bourgeoisie were no virtuosos. A composer like
Telemann delivered what these dilettantes were asking for.
Others made almost a living by arranging music for such dilettantes.
One of them was Nicolas Chédeville, who - like two of his five
brothers - was a player of the musette. The Chédeville family
was related to one of France's most extended and famous musical
families, the Hotteterres. From the early 1720s until 1748 Nicolas
Chédeville was a member of the orchestra of the Paris opera as
a player of the oboe and the musette. He also acted as a teacher
of the musette. His compositions, the first of which were printed
in 1729, were mainly written for amateurs playing for their own
entertainment. This is reflected in the titles of many of his
collections of music, whose titles often contain the word 'amusement'
Chédeville not only composed music, he also arranged music by
other composers. During the 1730s he became especially interested
in Italian music. In 1739 the publisher Jean-Noël Marchand printed
a collection of sonatas under the title 'Il pastor fido opus 13',
apparently by Antonio Vivaldi. But in 1749 he revealed that Chédeville
was the real composer. As the musette is among the instruments
mentioned in this collection it is suggested this was an attempt
to increase the status of the musette as a serious instrument.
In 1739 Chédeville was granted the privilege to print his arrangements
of music by Italian composers. But only two collections of such
arrangements are known, the Sonatas opus 4 by Evaristo Felice
dall'Abaco and the six concertos by Vivaldi recorded here. Vivaldi
was one of the most famous composers of his time, and since the
publication of the 'Four Seasons' in 1720 in Amsterdam these concertos
were his most popular works. It doesn't surprise, then, that Chédeville
took the opportunity to arrange them. These arrangements reflect
the growing popularity of Italian music in general, and Vivaldi
in particular, in France.
These arrangements are not direct transcriptions of the four concertos
which are known as the 'Four Seasons'. Only the first of the series,
Spring, is arranged in its entirety. The concerto Chédeville called
'L'Automne' (the Autumn) is an arrangement of several movements
from Vivaldi's Concertos 3 and 4 (Autumn and Winter respectively).
The other four concertos are arrangements of (movements of) other
concertos from the opus 8 by Vivaldi, which included the Four
Seasons. The second concerto, called 'Les Plaisirs de l'Été',
for instance, is an arrangement of movements from Vivaldi's Concertos
10 and 12. The title tells something about Chédeville's objective.
Whereas Vivaldi also pays attention to the dark sides of the seasons
- like the heat of the summer - Chédeville concentrates entirely
on the happy side, as the title 'The Pleasure of the Summer' indicates.
This is what one expects from a composer whose collections of
music often contain the word 'amusante'.
This doesn't mean there is no expression at all, as the slow movements
of 'Le Printems' and 'Les Plaisirs de St. Martin' show. One also
needs to realise that 'amusement' doesn't necessarily indicate
'easy listening', let alone 'great fun'. Entertainment in the
18th century doesn't exclude expression, although too much depth
may be avoided. Although Chédeville simplified the concertos,
they still require considerable technical skills. Apparently the
dilettantes of those days had that kind of skills.
These concertos are scored for three treble instruments: musette
or hurdy-gurdy, flute and violin. The recorder and the oboe which
are also present in this recording are not mentioned, but it is
fully legitimate to use them. The recorder is probably the least
convincing choice, considering the fact that the heydays of the
recorder were long gone at the time these concertos were published.
In a way it is a shame the musette - Chédeville's own instrument
- is entirely left out. Its inclusion had given this disc even
more variety. But the way the hurdy-gurdy is played here is very
impressive. In the slow movement of 'Le Printems' it plays the
solo part and here it shows that it is more than an instrument
to play dance music and simple melodies. It makes the hurdy-gurdy's
entrance in the chamber music and cantatas by the most famous
composers of the early 18th century understandable.
Considering the amount of arrangement and reworking of Vivaldi's
concertos it is remarkable how much of the original character
has remained. Of course, if one wants to hear the real Vivaldi,
one should listen to the originals. But Chédeville's arrangements
are most enjoyable to listen to. That is also the merit of the
performances: the players haven't fallen into the trap of making
it just good fun; in particular the slow movements reflect the
serious aspects of this collection. Even so: the main aim of Chédeville
was to offer musical entertainment, and that is how one should
listen to these concertos. The combination of instrumental colours
and the imaginative performances of the ensemble are exactly what
this repertoire needs.
Johan van Veen
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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