Le Banquet Céleste & Damien Guillon - P.H. Erlebach: Lieder - Fanfare

Since 2009, Le Banquet Céleste, under the direction of its founder and countertenor, Damien Guillon, has dedicated its energies and significant talents to music of the Baroque from the area we now identify as central Germany. The group’s new album, titled P.H. Erlebach Lieder, brings us into intimate contact with a composer unfamiliar to most listeners, as many of his works were destroyed in a fire at Rudolstadt Castle in 1735. Far from the debaucheries of the French court, but also from the Lutheran high-mindedness of Bach and the other great Baroque churchmen, these Lieder (much better described as arias) offer gentle glimpses of individual reflection in a Western Europe filled with dangers and uncertainties, their lyrics tinged by an unobtrusive piety, their musical expressions creative, melodic, and light. The arias are expansive and full of feeling, though there is little exaggeration and emotional display. How sad to know that so much of this composer’s work was lost, yet there is hope that extant works will be revived and recorded. Erlebach is not only a master artist we are invited to rediscover and enjoy, he may also be an antidote for a fast-paced world that has lost, or at least misplaced, its once-stable core.

19 February 2022