La Rêveuse

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Program: #12-23   Air Date: May 28, 2012

We recently worked with this wonderful French ensemble--we'll sample their work in French and English 17th and early 18th century music.

NOTE: All of the music on this program is from performances by the La Rêveuse, directed by Benjamin Perrot. Special thanks to the Bureau Export association. For more information, you may explore:

I. Sébastien de Brossard: Oratorios (Mirare CD MIR 125)

From HM USA: Sébastien de Brossard, an enthusiastic collector of music, pedagogue and author of the first dictionary of music, was also a very talented composer. This champion of Italian music and great connoisseur of the music of Carissimi probably took the Roman master as the model for his two oratorios. Leandro, a dramatic work in Italian, is a miniature masterpiece and one of the earliest cantatas by a French composer. On this new disc from the enterprising Mirare label, the ensemble La Rêveuse offers up brilliant performances of these shining examples of early French vocal music.
--BROSSARD (1655-1730): Dialogus Poentitentis Animae Cum Deo

II. Mr.Tomkins his Lessons of Worthe (Mirare CD MIR 137); featuring Bertrand Cuiller, harpsichord

From The "lessons of worthe" connected with British Renaissance composer Thomas Tomkins are neither all by Tomkins (in fact, most are by other composers) nor all lessons, although there are a few instructional pieces. Instead the program reproduces something rare in the Renaissance literature: a collection of pieces that a single composer considered worthy of appreciation and study. The album thus has a distinctive flavor in itself, with mostly serious pieces that get away from the usual dance pairs; the two pavan-galliard pairs by John Bull and William Byrd are complex little pieces indeed. Many of the works exploit chromatic possibilities. On top of these general characteristics, French keyboardist Bertrand Cuiller makes a couple of unusual interpretive decisions. First, he relies on a notation by Tomkins himself in the Parisian manuscript from which the lessons of worth come, indicating (probably) that pieces should be kept together by final, by key as the modern age would say. Tomkins seems to refer to print rather than performance, but the concentration Cuiller achieves this way is intriguing. Second, and most striking for the average listener, is that for each group of pieces Cuiller uses a different instrument: a Dutch-Anglo harpsichord, a chime-like Spanish harpsichord, and a claviorganum, a comparatively rare harpsichord-organ contraption that gets spectacular results in the closing Fantasia of Bull (track 11). This is not really meant to be an introductory disc of Renaissance English keyboard music, but it's an intriguing item for large collections and certainly for libraries.

--JOHN BULL (c.1562-1628): Chromatic Pavan; Chromatic Galliard.
--THOMAS TOMKINS (1572-1656): Robin Hood

III. Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre (Mirare CD MIR 105)

From Amazon: Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, a gifted harpsichordist, was also a great composer whose sonatas were much admired. Her successful blend of Italian fire and French elegance, which allows the violin to shine in brilliant passages while giving fine solos to the viol, places these pieces among the finest French instrumental music of the early 18th century. The chamber ensemble La Rêveuse specializes in works of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. By favoring eloquence, the mastery of the color and the richness of continuo, the musicians of La Rêveuse convey the rhetorical, spiritual and poetic force of this glorious repertoire.              
-- JACQUET de la GUERRE (1665-1729): Suonta 1ma (in a minor); Sonata III in F Major.

Composer Info

Sébastien de Brossard (1655-1730), JOHN BULL (c.1562-1628), THOMAS TOMKINS (1572-1656), Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre (1665-1729)

CD Info

Mirare CD MIR 125, Mirare CD MIR 137, Mirare CD MIR 105