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La Galerie Dorée - The Tercentenary Concert
Jodie Devos (soprano); Justin Taylor (harpsichord); Thomas Dunford (lute); Atsushi Sakaï (cello); Tami Krausz (baroque flute)
Quatuor Cambini-Paris
Le Concert de la Loge
rec. live, 19 June 2018, La Galerie dorée de la banque de France, Paris
Filmed in High Definition; Picture: 1080i/16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen;
Sound: LPCM Stereo 2.0/ DTS-HD MA 5.1; Region code: A, B, C
BELAIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC571 [77 mins]

This surprising little gem of a concert was the happy conception of lead violinist Julien Chauvin. It is a collection of bonbons to celebrate the 300th birthday of the Galerie dorée or the “Golden Gallery”. This wonderful piece of architecture was built in 1618 as the Hotel de la Vrillière but in 1712 was acquired and transformed by the major renovations of Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon, the youngest illegitimate child of Louis XIV and the Marquise de Montespan.  He was a music pupil of François Couperin and was known to have taken a performing part In Lully’s opera Alceste when it was presented at court. His concept of the gallery transformed it into a near rival of the famous Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. It has been the property of the National Bank of France since its creation in 1800 by Napoleon Bonaparte.  The gallery is a beautiful setting for music concerts, one of which we get to enjoy here, appropriately overseen by a white marble bust of Louis-Alexandre himself.

The music for the concert consists of mainly Baroque-era excerpts with one or two notable exceptions.  There is seamlessness to its flow which is quite striking. Some of the tracks were performed with no audience present while many others are in full view of a live audience. It all begins appropriately enough with a musical procession into the gallery to a spirited account of Lully’s Turkish march from Le Bourgeois gentilhomme. Throughout the concert, we are treated to a series of movements and solo pieces from various Baroque composers. The first of the two non-Baroque exceptions is a lovely rendition of a movement from the first quartet of Felicien David by the Quattor Cambini-Paris. They provide a refined rendition which made me long to hear the entire work. The second is a jarringly effective solo improvisation by cellist Atsushi Sakaï. This is done in the style of a Japanese Bunraku, a traditional marionette theater musical accompaniment.  In the vocal excerpts, soprano Jodie Devos demonstrates that she can stretch beyond the Offenbach ditties of her first recital disc, which was reviewed by my colleague Michael Cookson (review). She has the vocal means to do lovely justice to the Handel arias and offers us the most ravishing account I have yet encountered of the “Virgo virginum praeclara” from Boccherini’s Stabat Mater.

The instrumental soloists all have their opportunity to shine, and certainly do. I was most impressed by the level of communication achieved among the members of the Quattor Cambini-Paris. Their playing of the Mozart allegro and the aforementioned piece by David is quite worth the price of this disc. Lutenist Thomas Dunford and flautist Tami Krausz can be duly proud of their excellent contributions. However, the pieces played on the harpsichord by Justin Taylor, while beautifully played, seem to me to be adversely affected by the huge ambient acoustic inherent in the gallery. The instrumental detail is clouded more than it would be in a more intimate recording studio.  As this would not have bothered anyone in the time of Louis XIV, I cannot raise much of an objection here.

Throughout the concert, we are treated to views of the different works of art that decorate the gallery, which are identified at the beginning of each piece. The decision to focus on the admittedly lovely examples of colonialism in art during the David pieces strikes me as a most appropriate theme for a composer who is remembered only for his symphonic ode, Le Désert. This is one release which really benefits from the high definition picture that Blu-ray offers and could certainly be used effectively as a demonstration disc for marketing HD televisions. For my review, I sampled only the PCM stereo tracks which are of demonstration quality.

Mike Parr

Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687)
Marche pour la cérémonie des Turcs from Le Bourgeois gentilhomme- LWV 43 (1670)
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Adagio e Allegro from Symphony No 6 in D major ‘Le Matin’- Hob.I:6 (1761)
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Come Zephyrs, come from Semele, HWV 58 (1744)
Un pensiero nemico di pace from Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, Part 1, HWV 46a (1707)
Da tempeste from Guilio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17 (1724)
François COUPERIN (1668-1733)
Les Barricades Mystérieuses
Le Tic-Toc-Choc ou les Maillotins
Félicien DAVID (1810-1876)
Allegretto from String Quartet no.1 in F minor (1868)
Marin MARAIS (1656-1728)
Les Voix Humaines 
Atsushi SAKAÏ
Improvisation in the style of Bunraku (2018)
Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764)
Danse du grand Calumet de la paix from Les Indes galantes (1735-1736)
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Allegro from String Quartet No. 17 in B-Flat Major, K. 458, ‘Hunt’
Jean-Baptiste PRIN (1669-1742)
Fanfare de chasse
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Menuet from Symphony No 8 in G major ‘Le Soir’, Hob.I:8 (1761)
Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743 - 1805)
Virgo virginum praeclara from the Stabat mater in f minor, G 532a (1781)
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Allegro from Flute Concerto in D op. 10/3 ‘Il Gardellino’ RV 428
Allegro from Flute Concerto in F major, ‘La tempesta di mare’ RV 433
Il Sonno fantasmi from La Notte RV 439
Marc Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643 - 1704)
Prélude from Te Deum, H.146 (1692)

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