buoyant performance of Herzlich Lieb hab ich dich, o Herr; and while the female voices have a beautiful flowing quality, the tendency to lean on dynamics to create mini-surges of volume is mildly irritating.
Schütz’s Da Jesus an dem Kreuze stund is, after Membra Jesu nostri, the other major work recorded here. It is a setting of the Seven Last Words framed, palindromically, by two pairs of movements, a choral Introitus and Conclusio, and instrumental Symphonias. Again, the performance is notable for the transparency of texture and purity of sound, the polyphonic writing delivered with impressive clarity.
Possibly unfamiliar will be the name of Lüdert Dijkman. He was a Swedish organist who wrote his only surviving work, Lamentum eller En Sorge-Music, following the deaths, in close succession, of two Swedish princes in infancy. The opening Aria is given to a soprano solo, which here gives it an appropriately childlike quality, and a very brief section for male voices leads into a straightforward chorale-like aria which, for all its lack of complexity, is exquisitely performed by this outstanding instrumental and vocal ensemble. Marc Rochester
Lalande Dies irae, S31. Miserere, S27. Quatuor, S162/5. Veni Creator, S14 Ensemble Correspondances / Sébastian Daucé Harmonia Mundi F HMM90 2625 (80’ • DDD • T/t)
Michel-Richard de Lalande spent his life in the service of the royal court at
Versailles, in the course of which he produced over 70 grands motets. He was given to revising his early compositions, presumably with the intention of staying up to date; this excellent recording seeks to give us versions as close as possible to the originals.
Half an hour of the Dies irae followed by another half-hour of the Miserere might seem a gloomy prospect; in fact the variety of mood, and Lalande’s imaginative writing, make for a richly rewarding experience. The Dies irae was composed in 1690 for the funeral of the Dauphine, Louis XIV’s daughter-in-law; it was sung again – revised! – at the funeral of her husband in 1711, and yet again the following year when the new Dauphin, his wife and son died of smallpox. After a solemn introduction the sopranos enter with a modified version of the familiar plainsong. ‘Tuba mirum’ is a fast section for baritone (Étienne Bazola)
with a vigorous accompaniment; ‘Quaerens me’ features two sopranos (Caroline Weynants and Perrine Devillers) over a walking bass for continuo only. The four stanzas of ‘Juste judex’ (Bazola) are varied in tempo; they lead into ‘Inter oves locum praesta’, where the goats from which the suppliant begs to be separated seem to be quite as jolly as the sheep he hopes to join. The chromatic ‘Lacrymosa’ ends with dramatic pauses at ‘parce, Deus’. A splendid piece restored by Thomas Leconte, who furnished the missing inner orchestral parts.
The Miserere, composed for Holy Week in 1687, naturally starts in sombre mood but again there is plenty of variety. Two flutes provide a gentle accompaniment to Weynants’s ‘Asperges me hysopo’, while cheerfulness breaks out in ‘Redde mihi laetitiam’, the high voices leading into a contrapuntal tutti at ‘Docebo iniquos’. Language apart, the runs on ‘annuntiabit’ (‘and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise’) could be from a verse anthem by Purcell: the haute-contre Voyt∆ch Semarád reels them off with ease, as do the sopranos Weynants and Caroline Bardot in their Italianate thirds at ‘holocaustis non delectaberis’. In the slow ‘Sacrificium Deo spiritus’, Bazola encapsulates the psalmist’s contrition with a moving restraint.
Veni Creator is earlier still, dating from 1684. As well as being the appropriate text for Pentecost, the hymn was sung on ceremonial occasions: according to Leconte’s booklet note, Lalande’s revised version was possibly prepared for the coronation of Louis XV in 1722. There are passages where a group of soloists sings alternately with the full chorus. Melismas appear at ‘Hostem repellas longius’, fluently sung by the tenor Antonin Rondepierre; immediately before comes ‘Accende lumen sensibus’, beautifully phrased by the mezzo Lucile Richardot, who sounds uncannily like a countertenor.
Separating the two longer pieces is a charming brief Quatuor from around 1713, Mélanie Flahaut’s bassoon peeping shyly out of the string texture. These are spirited performances by Ensemble Correspondances, zealously directed by Sébastien Daucé. Texts are provided, and Thomas Leconte’s essay is translated by the admirable Charles Johnston. I enjoyed this very much. Richard Lawrence
Purcell ‘Birthday Odes for Queen Mary’ Arise, my Muse. Z320. Celebrate this festival, Z321. Love’s goddess sure was blind, Z331 Carolyn Sampson, Emily Owen sops Iestyn Davies,
Hugh Cutting countertens Charles Daniels, David de Winter tens Matthew Brook, Edward Grint basses The King’s Consort / Robert King Vivat F VIVAT122 (77’ • DDD • T)
For the second time in a career, 30 years since their last account, Robert
King and The King’s Consort are working their way through Purcell’s odes. The first volume of this new set (3/21) established clear stylistic daylight between then and now, replacing the earlier, more obviously extrovert recording with greater clarity and detail. The second volume maintains the trend, continuing the sequence in stylish, affectionate performances, where ensemble rather than any individual is king.
This time we get three of the six of the Birthday Odes composed by Purcell for Queen Mary. The chronology of Odes II, IV and V may be tight – together they span just three years, 1690‑93 – but the evolution of both form and forces is marked. The album is constructed to amplify this, sandwiching the intimate Love’s goddess sure was blind (scored for just strings and a pair of recorders) between the grander Arise, my Muse and Celebrate this festival, with its newly continuous flow of arias and choruses, and increasingly intricate counterpoint.
The blaze and rasp of Neil Brough and Adrian Woodward’s trumpets rolls out the musical red carpet for Arise, my Muse, their fanfares the bookend to the weeping phrases of two recorders in the closing ‘But ah, I see Eusebia drown’d in tears’. The instrumental colours are beautifully shaded, whether the self-satisfied, nasal oboes in ‘Happy realm, beyond expressing’, the trumpet challenging Matthew Brook’s bass in ‘While, for a righteous cause he arms’ or the Scottish ballad ‘Cold and raw’, heard heavy-footed in harpsichord at the start of ‘May her blest example chase’.
The singing is exemplary across the board but special mention must be made of tenor Charles Daniels – the only singer to span both recordings – whose ‘See how the glitt’ring ruler of the day’ has a lovely cool languor to its long phrases, crisply embellished. Elsewhere countertenors Iestyn Davies and Hugh Cutting blend seamlessly in ‘Hail, gracious Gloriana, hail’ and ‘Many such days may she behold’, and soprano Carolyn Sampson adds a lovely sheen to Celebrate this festival, joined by Emily Owen for the glossy duet ‘Britain, now thy cares beguile’. Bring on the next volume! Alexandra Coghlan gramophone.co.uk
GRAMOPHONE GRAMOPHONE SHORTLIST 2022 1313
You have no current subscriptions in your account.
Would you like to explore the titles in our collection?
You have no collections in your account.
Would you like to view your available titles?