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Emma Kirkby and London Baroque here return to BIS with a disc of music from the French composer Michel Pignolet de Montéclair.
An almost exact contemporary of François Couperin and only some 15 years older than Rameau, Montéclair was also a composer working in all the genres current at the time, including that of the chamber cantata for one or two voices and strings, dealing mainly with subjects from classical history or mythology. The large majority used French texts with four Italian ones, including La Morte di Lucretia, recorded here.
The works The Return of Peace and Le Triomfe de la Constance both illustrate Montéclair’s skill at overcoming the challenges of producing a restricted instrumentation that provides effective backcloth for the action. The trumpets celebrating The Return of Peace are quite satisfactorily suggested by unison violins, and the shepherd's bagpipes are alluded to by two bass viols in Le Triomfe de la Constance.
Emma Kirkby and London Baroque have previously worked together on BIS with recordings of solo cantatas by Handel that have met with great acclaim.
Michel Pignolet de Monteclair: Cantates a voix seule, Book 1: Le retour de la paix
Lent et detache
Leger et doux
Recitatif: Discorde, tes efforts vont etre superflus
Air des Trompettes
Michel Pignolet de Monteclair: Cantates a une et a deux voix, Book 2: Pan et Syrinx
Air: lent et mesure
Air, lentement et tendrement
Michel Pignolet de Monteclair: Cantates a voix seule, Book 1: Le triomphe de la constance
Tendrement et un peu de mouvement
Michel Pignolet de Monteclair: Cantates a voix seule, Book 1: La mort de Didon
Lent, marque et detache
Michel Pignolet de Monteclair: Cantates a une et a deux voix, Book 3: Morte di Lucretia
Aria: Largo et affettuoso
Aria: Vivace - Adagio
17th September 2011
“Though in her sixties, Dame Emma Kirkby summons all her old vocal glories — clean line, plangent timbre, deft ornaments, impeccable intonation and a superb response to text...it’s in the laments for Dido and Lucretia that she is at her most expressive, and here, too, that London Baroque’s astringent single strings are most effective.”
“This is an admirable marriage between scholarly revelation and uninhibited delight in performance...Kirkby has thrilled us for years with her sparkling Italianate virtuosity. She's no less outstanding in the subtleties of French singing, decorating lines with nuanced trills, turns and leaning dissonances, while sustaining an irresistable sense of purpose and forward direction.”
“Kirkby embellishes every note with a grace, lightness and sparkle which other sopranos in careers half as long have already lost. Her taste serves expression. Baroque swirls, shakes, roulades and turns float as weightlessly as cherubs on a church ceiling...She engages with the instruments. Voice and violin mimic each other in the death of Dido while in Triomfe de la Constance, the sombre gamba is her echo.”
“Emma Kirkby singing French repertoire is a rare thing but her old friends London Baroque are steeped in it, and these performances are as stylish as one could wish...Kirkby's voice could have been brought further forward but her ever-present virtues of clarity, secure passagework and interpretative intelligence still emerge”