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Les Voyages de L'Amour
Joseph Bodin de BOISMORTIER (1689-1755)
Simphonie pour l'arrivée des Génies Elémentaires (from Les Voyages de l'Amour, Op. 60 Act II: Scene 3 (1736)) [5:32]
Jean-Féry REBEL (1666-1747)
Les Caractères de la Danse: Fantaisie (1715) [7:32]
Sonate Sixiéme from Sonates à violon seul mellées de plusieurs Recits pour la viole, Livre IIe (1713) [9:04]
Joseph Bodin de BOISMORTIER
Premier Ballet de Village en trio, Op. 52 from IV Balets de village en trio (1734) [9:17]
Sonate III à deux parties, Op. 14 from VI Sonates (1726) [7:49]
Concerto à cinq parties, Op. 37 from V Sonates en trio ... suivies d'un Concerto à 5 (1732) [7:46]
Sonate IV à trois parties, Op. 37 from V Sonates en trio ... suivies d'un Concerto à 5 (1732) [4:28]
Michel CORRETTE (1707-1795)
Concerto comique VI, Op. 8 Le Plaisir des Dames from Six Concertos comiques (1733) [4:50]
Ensemble Meridiana (Dominique Tinguely (recorders, voice flute, baroque bassoon); Sarah Humphrys (baroque oboe, recorders); Sabine Stoffer (baroque violin); Tore Eketorp (viola da gamba, quinton, violone); Christian Kjos (harpsichord)); Mirko Arnone (theorbo, baroque guitar, colascione)
rec. St. Nikolaus Kirche, Herznach, Switzerland, November 2014, June 2015

It has been a good year for the fans of the music of Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, firstly the wonderful DVD of his Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse (Alpha 711) and now this excellent disc that couples his instrumental music with that of Jean-Féry Rebel and Michel Corrette, three composers who are hardly well known names when discussing the French baroque. In fact their lack of celebrity belies their skill and ability to create wonderful music. It has been suggested that the reason for Boismortier’s lack of prominence was due to the fact that he earned his more than comfortable living through private compositions and music publishing rather than the accepted system of patronage.

The disc takes its name from the opening work on the disc, the Simphonie from Boismortier’s 1736 opéra-ballet Les Voyages de l'Amour, a piece of colourful and delightful music that sets the standard for the rest of the disc. This is followed by selections of ballet music along with concertos and sonatas by Boismortier, Rebel and Corrette. This music only serves to prove just what an interesting and attractive era this was in France’s musical development. It goes to prove that its reputation should be founded on much more than just the suites of dance music usually associated with the French baroque. One only has to listen to the Premier Ballet de Village en trio, Op. 52, where the main instrument is the recorder, an instrument that, along with the flue, Boismortier would come to be associated with, to appreciate the diversity of music on this disc.

The playing of the Ensemble Meridiana, here augmented by Mirko Arnone, is excellent. It is hard at times to believe that there are only six performers playing at one time — their sound is so rich and big. Yes, the members double on different instruments in various pieces showing just how adept they are at whatever instrument they pick up. Still there are times when they sound more like a baroque orchestra than a chamber-sized ensemble. I particularly enjoyed the contribution of Dominique Tinguely in the Sonate III à deux parties, Op. 14, where her playing of the baroque bassoon is faultless and truly wonderful. She has also provided the booklet notes for this disc, notes that give background and depth to the three composers and their music. The recorded sound is crisp and bright and helps the Ensemble Meridiana to get every nuance from this music. This is a lovely disc, one which has soon become a favourite of mine, and one which is a must for all looking to expand their knowledge of French baroque music.

Stuart Sillitoe