The Sun King's Paradise - Palladian Ensemble - BBC Music Magazine
The Palladian Ensemble's latest foray into the baroque features French chamber music from the reign of Lois XIV, the Sun King. According to palladian theorboist William Carter, French composers of this period shared a 'delight in instrumental sonority and colour', the result of which was a music rich in timbral subtlety, that performers can 'relax into' and listeners continue to enjoy.
The pieces her offer persuasive corroboration from the exuberant hues of Francois Couperin's Mussette de choisie & mussette de tavernie,, with its cheery bagpipe imitations, to the more pstal shades of Le Moine's Prelude and Chaconne for solo theorbo or Marais's Tombeau pour M Ste Colombe, a heartfelt tribute with grave delicacy by dark viol and lambent theorbo.
Marais's elegant Suite in D perhaps demonstrates Carter's arguments most fully; the closing Symphonie is a serene accord of wind and strings that explifies its composer's appraisal of the timbral mix as 'fort agreable'. The most extraordinary selection here is Rebel's Les caracteres de la danse, which comprises brief snippets of various dances segued together in a single movement - like a Baroque version of sampling.
In sum, an enterprising programme, given deft, vivacious performances. The Sun King's Paradise is an earthly delight.