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Couperin: Les Nations - Sonades et Suites de Simphonies en Trio; Rebel: Les Caractères de la Danse / Florilegium

Album Summary

>Couperin, François : Les Nations, sonatas & suites for 2 violins & continuo
>Rebel, Jean-Féry : Les Caracteres de la danse, ballet
Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The two composers presented on this recording by the acclaimed English ensemble Florilegium both came from families of musicians active at the Court of Versailles. François Couperin was organist of the Chapelle du Roi, and Jean-Féry Rebel was a violinist in the Chapelle du Roi and composer for the King. Like many chamber works of the period, Couperin left no precise instructions as to instrumentation for his suite Les Nations. This adds versatility as the treble parts are therefore suitable for flutes, violins or oboes or any combination available. Rebel was an innovator, and one of the first French musicians to compose sonatas in the Italian style. His ballet Les Caractères de la danse was one of his most popular and widely performed works.

Gramophone Magazine, April 2014
Florilegium's stylish performances are accented with English reserve...but once past introductions, the performances are cordial and occasionally even jocular, thanks in part to David Miller's gently swaggering lute accompaniments. In each work, the chaconne or passacaille enchants.

The Observer, 23rd February 2014
Stylish playing from the Florilegium chamber ensemble, with two particularly well-balanced flutes.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: All Saints' Church, Durham Rd, London (12/06/2011-12/08/2011).


Strong start to Couperin cycle
Francois Couperin's 1726 work Les Nations consists of four sections, each one representing a different nationality: France, Spain, Imperial (Germany), and Piedmont (Italy). Each section is massive, consisting of a sonata followed by a suite. Florilegium performs the first two in this new release, with a second volume to follow L'imperiale and La piemontaise.

The ensemble strikes just the right balance in their performances. Couperin's music sounds refined and elegant, but not bloodless. Some of the dance movements are quite spirited (in a tasteful fashion), and melodies flow with easy familiarity that bring these works to life.

rounding out the recording is Les caracteres de la danse by Couperin's contemporary Jean-Fery Rebel. As played by Florilegium, I can hear a distinct difference between the two composers. Rebel's dance suite sounds more lively and spirited, a little less refined, perhaps than Couperin.

The performances are first-rate, as is the recording. If you have a choice between the SACD and the download, I recommend the former. This is intimate music-making, and the additional detail revealed in the SACD (including the sound of the harpsichord action) just adds to the richness of the listening experience.
Submitted on 03/13/14 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>François Couperin (1668 - 1733) : Les Nations, sonatas & suites for 2 violins & continuo
  • Ensemble: Florilegium (Ensemble, UK)
  • Notes: All Saints' Church, Durham Rd, London (12/06/2011-12/08/2011)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Jean-Féry Rebel (1666 - 1747) : Les Caractères de la danse, ballet
  • Ensemble: Florilegium (Ensemble, UK)
  • Notes: All Saints' Church, Durham Rd, London (12/06/2011-12/08/2011)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Ballet