“Repast” = CAROLUS HACQUART: Sonata No. 6 in d; BUXTEHUDE: Trio Sonata No. 3 in G, Bux WV 261; FRANCOIS COUPERIN: Le Parnasse ou l’Apotheose de Corelli; LECLAIR: Trio Sonata in D, Op. 3 No. 8; RAMEAU: Pieces de Clavecin en Concert, Troisieme Concert; JACQUES MOREL: Chaconne and Trio – Repast Baroque Ens., 65:22 [Distr. by Albany] ****:
The Repast Ensemble consists of Amelia Roosevelt (baroque violin), John Mark Rozendaal (viola da gamba), and Avi Stein (harpsichord) with the sometime addition of Claire Jolivet when a second violin is needed. These folks, practiced period perfectionists all, were established in 2003, and they play like maniacs. The phrasing, spirit, and articulation are wonderful, almost palpable in some instances (the Leclair and Rameau pieces particularly), and one is hard-pressed to come up with a more engaging program than this.
The recital is basically chronological, and the differences from Couperin to Rameau startled me in a way that I haven’t really been aware of before even though the number of years is relatively insignificant (1637-1764); it’s all because of locale and influence, being in the right—or wrong—place at the right time. The contrapuntal magic of the opening number, Hacquart’s Sonata, is memorable, and I am glad to make the acquaintance of this northern European, the composer of the first opera in the Dutch language. Lübeck-based Buxtehude is mostly known for his organ music though he in fact composed for a vast number of ensembles. His popularity was such that Bach himself when a young man is supposed to have walked miles to hear him play. Listening to this slightly anachronistic but colorful Trio Sonata shows us what the attraction was all about.
Francois, nephew of Louis Couperin, may have been inspired by the massive Parnasse francaix, a bronze monument commemorating the poets and musicians of the age of Louis XIV, in the writing of his Le Parnasse ou l’Apotheose de Corelli, daring to introduce an Italian into the French pantheon! But with music like this, a programmatic voyage into the muse of Corelli which allows him to be seated “near Apollo”, the French can surely forgive the intrusion. Leclair of course was the founder of the French violin school, coming from a family of multi-talented artists, and highly influenced by the real father of all violin playing, Locatelli. This brilliant Sonata is a good example of Leclair’s virtuosic art, notable for its already classical-like structure and harmonies.
Rameau is surely the most brilliant composer on this album, and the Third Concert from his Pieces de Clavecin en Concert will be familiar to many. These colorful works, programmatic in the extreme, define the genre. And Morel’s Chaconne is another piece of great notoriety, a type of work that normally occurred in France as a dramatic device towards the end of a ballet or opera.
The sound here is very bright and recorded at a fairly high level, so be advised. I do wish for a little more softness in timbre, but this is easily adjusted manually. A fine disc.