Skip Sempé – Memorandum XXI (TrackList follows) with Capriccio Stravagante/Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orch./Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons – Paradizo (5 CDs & bound book)

Skip Sempé – Memorandum XXI (TrackList follows) with Capriccio Stravagante/Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orch./Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons – [Essays & Interviews on Music & Performance] – Paradizo PA0012 (5 CDs plus 388p. bound book), 6 hrs. 30 min. music (Distr. by Harmonia mundi) [1/14/14]  *****:

Skip Sempé, originally born in New Orleans, has been a pioneer of the early music world for over 30 years now. In addition, off the stage he has written insightful essays on a wide range of music topics, ranging from Renaissance virtuosity to the art of keyboard instrument building. In 1730 J.S. Bach wrote a “Memorandum” which was his personal wish list for ideal performances of his music. This amazing CD and literary tome gathers together in a similar spirit 40 of Sempé’s selected essays and interviews, together with five CDs taken from various previous recordings for Paradizo, Deutsche Harmonia mundi, Astre and Alpha Records.  It also marks the 25th Anniversary of his ensemble, Capriccio Stravagante. Several of the tracks included here have not been available elsewhere at all.

This package struck me as similar to the lavish over-the-top book and SACD packages assembled by Jordi Savall for his AliaVox label, except that these are standard CDs and the book is only in two languages: English and French. There are many photos of Sempé, his various performers and ensembles, and of such notables in music as harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt (with whom he studied) and Wanda Landowska. The text portions are arranged in seven sections: Paradise Lost, Clavessinistes, Harpsichords and Harpsichordists, Le Parnasse Francois, Cross Relations, and Packaging and Re-packaging. They have appeared in various formats over the years, including program notes, press interviews and liner notes for recordings. I read several of the essays before listening to the reissue CDs. In one of those on harpsichords he speaks of his preference for the Flemish and French harpsichords of the 17th and 18th centuries, and refers to the “unresonant, ugly German…Bach harpsichord” style which he says is not like anything J.S. Bach would have enjoyed playing. (My harpsichord is a Wittmayer German harpsichord, which I have since learned is considered a sort of Edsel of harpsichords.)

Sempé seems to communicate a sense of immediacy in his recordings. He allows the musicians to improvise and they seem to be having a good time playing the music, unlike certain early music recordings. He is also a superb harpsichordist. His essays on harpsichord technique and design are quite worth reading. I was especially interested in the few tracks from a Sempé disc with harpsichordist Olivier Fortin.  Fortin assists on four tracks of the CD with two-harpsichord arrangements of Scarlatti sonatas which I must get.

His essay on Wanda Landowska and her gathering-place outside Paris until WWII is most interesting. While pointing out that her harpsichord was really more of a piano and didn’t follow the design of the Baroque harpsichords which are today’s standard, her influence on introducing early keyboard music to the world was similar to what Andre Segovia did for the guitar, and is to be valued greatly.

As to the many hours of music in the package, there are 100 works by 45 different composers, and the remastering of the originals from the various labels is excellent throughout. The originals date from 1990 thru 2011. While much of the music is instrumental there are madrigals, canzones, and in the fifth CD of Music for the Theater, vocal excerpts from works for the stage by Lully, Couperin, Campra, Marais, and de la Barre. The set concludes with pieces for an ensemble of viols by Marais and St. Colombe.

TrackList:

Disc 1:
 
1 Passameze (Cclxxxvi)
Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra and Skip Sempé
2:12
 
2 Paduan
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
5:05
 
3 Paradizo: The Sighes
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
4:09
 
4 Pulchra es anima mea (Embellished by Francesco Rognoni)
Julien Martin, Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
4:53
 
5 In te Domine speravi (Recorder consort version of the original frottola)
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
1:14
 
6 Venus’ Birds
Julien Martin, Skip Sempé and Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra
1:53
 
7 Ancor che col partire (Embellished by Doron Sherwin)
Doron Sherwin, Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
3:47
 
8 Courant Dolorosa
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
2:54
 
9 Lachrymae Pavan
Skip Sempé
4:29
 
10 Praeludium & Ground
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
6:16
 
11 Pavan: Sir William Petre
Skip Sempé
5:09
 
12 The Queen’s Alman / Hugh Ashton’s Ground (MB 20)
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
4:54
 
13 Chromatic Pavan: Queen Elizabeth’s (MB 87)
Skip Sempé
5:46
 
14 Fantasia a 6
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
5:51
 
15 Philips Pavan
Skip Sempé, Pierre Hantaï and Olivier Fortin
2:28
 
16 Captain Digorie Pipers Galliard
Skip Sempé, Pierre Hantaï and Olivier Fortin
2:18
 
17 L’amor, dona, ch’io te porto (Recorder consort version of the original frottola)
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
1:10
 
18 Ancor che col partire (Viol consort version of the original madrigal)
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
3:22
 
19 When Daphne from fair Phoebus did fly
Julien Martin, Skip Sempé and Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra
1:06
 
20 Paduana
Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra and Skip Sempé
5:12
 
21 Bransle de la Torche (XV)
Doron Sherwin, Skip Sempé and Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra
1:52
 
22 Doulce memoire (Viol consort version of the original chanson)
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
2:54
 
Disc 2:
 
1 Canzon II
Doron Sherwin, Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra and Skip Sempé
2:34
 
2 La Pellegrina: O fortunato giorno, a 30
Capriccio Stravagante Consort Voices, Collegium Vocale Gent, Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra and Skip Sempé
2:28
 
3 La Pellegrina: Sinfonia, a 6
Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra and Skip Sempé
2:00
 
4 La Pellegrina: Dolcissimi Sirene, a 6
Capriccio Stravagante Consort Voices, Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra, Skip Sempé and Collegium Vocale Gent
1:24
 
5 Pavan in B-Flat
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
3:48
 
6 Lamento d’Arianna
Guillemette Laurens, Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
12:36 Album Only
 
7  Zefiro torna e’bel tempo rimena (Consort version of the original madrigal)
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
4:25
 
8 Sonata: La Variata
Pablo Valetti and Skip Sempé
10:11 Album Only
 
9 Pavana con su glosa
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
2:57
 
10 Dulce memoria
Skip Sempé
4:00
 
11 Differencias sobre las Vacas
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
3:19
 
12 Il bianco et dolce cigno
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
2:19
 
13 Pavan: The Funerals
Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra and Skip Sempé
4:25
 
14 Air for the flute
Julien Martin, Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
3:01
 
15 Differencias sobre el canto llano del Cavallero
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
4:32
 
16 La Pellegrina: O figlie di Piero, a 18
Capriccio Stravagante Consort Voices, Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra, Skip Sempé and Collegium Vocale Gent
1:19
 
17 La Pellegrina: Dal vago e bel sereno, a 6
Capriccio Stravagante Consort Voices, Skip Sempé, Collegium Vocale Gent and Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra
3:59
 
18 La Pellegrina: O che nuovo miracolo, a 5 / a 3
Capriccio Stravagante Consort Voices, Collegium Vocale Gent, Skip Sempé and Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra
7:02
 
Disc 3:
 
1 Prelude & Fugue in C, BWV 545
Skip Sempé and Olivier Fortin
5:07
 
2 Largo in A Minor, BWV 529
Sophie Gent and Skip Sempé
5:17
 
3 Polonaise
Julien Martin, Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
3:07
 
4 Sarabande in A Minor, BWV 529
Skip Sempé
3:03
 
5 Réjouissance
Julien Martin, Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
2:18
 
6 Sonata in D, K. 443: Allegro
Skip Sempé and Olivier Fortin
4:27
 
7 Three Parts Upon a Ground
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
4:58
 
8 Adagio e piano sempre, BWV 1054
Skip Sempé and Capriccio Stravagante
5:27
 
9 Ciaccona, BWV 1004
Skip Sempé
11:00 Album Only
 
10 Sonata in D Minor, Op. 6 No. 1
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
8:10
 
11 Sonata in E, K. 206: Andante
Skip Sempé
4:27
 
12 In Nomine of six parts
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
2:32
 
13 In Nomine of seven parts
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
4:12
 
14 Capriccio Stravagante:: Kurtzweilig Quotlibet
Capriccio Stravagante and Skip Sempé
16:53 Album Only
 
Disc 4: 
 
1 Ms. Parville: Allemande in C
Skip Sempé
2:36
 
2 Ms. Bauyn: Passacaille in C
Skip Sempé
5:57
 
3 Ms. Bauyn: Prélude a l’imitation de Monsieur Froberger
Skip Sempé
5:46
 
4 L’Art de toucher le clavecin: Prélude in A
Skip Sempé
2:38
 
5 Pièces de clavecin, Livre I: Sarabande La Dangereuse
Skip Sempé
3:08
 
6 Pièces de clavecin, Livre II: Allemande a deux clavecins
Skip Sempé and Olivier Fortin
4:29
 
7 Pièces de clavecin, Livre III: La de Belombre
Skip Sempé
2:27
 
8 Pièces de clavecin: La Cottin
Skip Sempé
3:23
 
9 Pièces de clavecin, Livre I: Rondeau
Skip Sempé
2:34
 
10 Pièces de clavecin: Tombeau de Monsieur de Chambonnières
Skip Sempé
8:19
 
11 L’Art de toucher le clavecin: Prélude in B-Flat
Skip Sempé
2:39
 
12 Prelude: imitatio Froberger
Skip Sempé
0:55
 
13 Pièces de clavecin: Pavanne L’Entretien des Dieux
Skip Sempé
3:51
 
14 Pièces de clavecin: Sarabande La d’Aubonne
Skip Sempé
4:16
 
15 Pièces de clavecin: Passacaille d’Armide
Skip Sempé and Olivier Fortin
3:56
 
16 La Dauphine
Skip Sempé
3:08
 
17 Pièces de clavecin: L’Enharmonique
Skip Sempé
4:16
 
18 Pièces de clavecin: La Rameau
Skip Sempé
3:37
 
19 Pièces de clavecin en concerts: La Livri
Skip Sempé and Olivier Fortin
3:14
 
20 Pièces de clavecin, Livre I: La Favorite
Skip Sempé
5:35
 
Disc 5:
 
1 Concert dans le goût théâtral: Sarabande
Capriccio Stravagante Orchestra and Skip Sempé
2:41
 
2 Airs de cour: Zephir modère en ces lieux
Karina Gauvin, Skip Sempé and Capriccio Stravagante
5:46
 
3 Le Bourgeois gentilhomme: Marche pour la Cérémonie des Turcs
Capriccio Stravagante Orchestra and Skip Sempé
1:18
 
4 Pièces de viole, Livre V: Prélude in G Minor
Josh Cheatham, Skip Sempé and Julien Léonard
2:33
 
5 Concert dans le goût théâtral: Loure
Capriccio Stravagante Orchestra and Skip Sempé
2:22
 
6 Pièces de viole, Livre V: Le Jeu de Volant
Josh Cheatham, Julien Léonard and Skip Sempé
1:37
 
7 Pièces de clavecin, Livre IV: L’Amphibie, Mouvement de Passacaille
Skip Sempé and Olivier Fortin
5:51
 
8 Atys: Ouverture
Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons and Skip Sempé
3:21
 
9 Chaconne rapportée
Josh Cheatham and Julien Léonard
4:48
 
10 L’Europe Galante: Mes Yeux
Guillemette Laurens, Skip Sempé and Capriccio Stravagante Orchestra
4:15
 
11 Alcyone: Air pour les Faunes et les Driades
Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons and Skip Sempé
0:47
 
12 Le Triomphe de l’Amour: Prélude à la Nuit
Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons and Skip Sempé
3:52
 
13 Le Triomphe des Arts: Qu’un c?ur est prévenu
Judith van Wanroij, Skip Sempé and Capriccio Stravagante
3:18
 
14 Les Plaisirs de L’Ile Enchantée: Scène de Satyre et Moron
Benjamin Alunni, Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons and Alain Buet
4:40
 
15 Armide: Passacaille
Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons and Skip Sempé
4:01
 
16 Impatentia: Simphonie
Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons and Skip Sempé
3:20
 
17 Pièces de viole, Livre III: Sarabande grave in G
Josh Cheatham, Julien Léonard and Skip Sempé
3:42
 
18 Pièces de viole, Livre V: Chaconne
Josh Cheatham, Julien Léonard and Skip Sempé
3:26
 
19 Le Bourgeois gentilhomme: Marche pour la Cérémonie des Turcs – Reprise
Capriccio Stravagante Orchestra and Skip Sempé
1:27
 
20 Psyché: Ouverture
Capriccio Stravagante Orchestra and Skip Sempé
2:17
 
21 L’Europe Galante: Sommeil
Jasu Moisio, Capriccio Stravagante Orchestra and Skip Sempé
5:38
 
22 Pièces de viole, Livre III: Fantaisie et double
Josh Cheatham, Skip Sempé and Julien Léonard
1:37
 
23 La Pastorale Comique: Chaconne des Magiciens
Judith van Wanroij, Alain Buet, Skip Sempé, Benjamin Alunni and Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons
3:02
 
24 Impatientia: Simphonie – Chaconne des Magiciens – Reprise
Capriccio Stravagante Les 24 Violons and Skip Sempé
2:00

—John Sunier

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