SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews
Le Concert Spirituel au temps de Louis XV = CORELLI: Concerto Grosso in D; TELEMANN: Two Suites; Concerto; RAMEAU: Les indes galantes (symphonies) – Soloists/Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall – Alia Vox
Published on October 20, 2010
Le Concert Spirituel au temps de Louis XV = CORELLI: Concerto Grosso in D, Op. 6, No. 4; TELEMANN: Suite in D TWV 55:D6; Concerto in a TWV 52:a1; Suite in e from Tafelmusik TWV 55:e1; RAMEAU: Les indes galantes (symphonies) – Pierre Hamon, flute/ Enrico Onofri, violino concertino/ Marc Hantai, Charles Zebley, Yi-Fen Chen, traverso/ Riccardo Minasi, Mauro Lopes, Olivia Centurioni, violini/ Balazs Mate, violoncello/ Le Concert des Nations/ Jordi Savall, viole de gambe, director – Alia Vox multichannel SACD 9877, 78:29 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] ****:
The Concert Spirituel (starting in Paris in 1725 and going though 1790) was one of the first public concert series ever, designed especially to be given during Lent and on other religious holidays when the more popular forms of entertainment like the Paris Opera were closed. Later on these concerts spread to places like London and Vienna. There were of course many sacred choral works given, as well as instrumental pieces that took place in the Hall of the Hundred Swiss Guards at the Tuileries. Starting in the evening at six o’clock, most of the patronage was rather well-to-do. [But they were the general public - not royalty and courtiers as previously...Ed.]
But there is a wider significance to these concerts; without them instrumental music may never have achieved the widespread popularity that was in its future. Public concerts would have been delayed for years as there would have been no audience for such a thing; and composers like Haydn—whose works were always prominent at these gatherings—might have been delayed in getting to the public, which meant that perhaps even his late-in-life sojourn to England might never have occurred or not met with the success it did. Even the common word “concert” evolved from these musical gatherings. So though we are only speaking of a series of presentations that lasted about three-quarters of a century (ending with the French revolution before assuming other forms) the long-lasting influence was indeed great, the famous Gewandhaus Orchestra having its own origins from these types of proceedings.
This is a very loose concept album; I say “loose” because any number of composers could have been included here, and Telemann himself was not featured as regularly as others, Rameau was controversial, though Corelli was on the very first one. So the connection between the concert series during the time of Louis XV and the composers listed, while real, is tenuous in the sense that others could have easily been chosen as well, and perhaps be even more representative in terms of the music. But I won’t complain, as any excuse to hear Le Concert des Nations is a valid one, as they are one of the period bands that really are different in sound, sporting a smooth and often sensuous tonal luster that is unique among these ensembles. Savall is always on top of the music he plays, and you won’t hear any more authoritative readings than those here. Personally there are so many Telemann works out there that I would just as soon as had something else, but Savall’s viola da gamba is a joy to listen to. The Corelli is jaunty and gorgeously phrased, while the quirky Rameau, always one for memorable melodies and interesting effects, is given a fine reading.
With excellent (as always) SACD sound and notes, this disc is easily recommendable.
– Steven Ritter