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Si vous vouliez un jour… Airs by Camus, Charpentier, M Lambert & Moulinié

Emmanuelle de Negri, Anna Reinhold, Reinoud Van Mechelen, Cyril Auvity, Lisandro Abadie; 
Les Arts Florissants/William Christie (Harmonia Mundi)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Si vous vouliez un jour
Airs by Camus, Charpentier, M Lambert & Moulinié
Emmanuelle de Negri (soprano), Anna Reinhold (mezzo-soprano), Reinoud Van Mechelen, Cyril Auvity (tenor), Lisandro Abadie (bass-baritone); Les Arts Florissants/William Christie
Harmonia Mundi HAF 8905306   73:44 mins

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This year is the 40th anniversary of Les Arts Florrisant. It may seem odd that some of their recent recordings have concentrated on apparently simple ‘airs de cour’ – that is, strophic love songs between shepherds and shepherdesses, full of arch attitudes and arcadian joys and sorrows. However, the four composers represented here show just how ingenious these songs could be, and exactly why they were implanted in early French operas and became a staple of the style.

Their dramatic potential is illustrated here in two works by Charpentier – the Petite pastorale (a tussle between Alcidon and Lysandre over Clarissa) sung with playful distress by Reinoud Van Mechelen and Cyril Auvity; and the four scenes from the ‘pastoraletta’ Amor vince ogni cosa where all the singers make the most of the flamboyant effects including the howling of a wolf and the bleating of lambs. More tender sensibilities come in Anna Reinhold’s presentation of Le Camus’s Laissez durer la nuit, magically accompanied on the theorbo by Thomas Dunford. Some of the unaccompanied works by Moulinié (Guillot est mon amis) evince spirited performances but poor tuning as does the instrumental overture to Charpentier’s Petite pastorale. The most affecting songs come from the Lambert items, with their beguiling instrumental introductions and subtle allusions (Les Arts Florissants have devoted an entire disc to his songs on the Musique d’abord label). Vous mépuis, for example attracts the most delicate veneer of ornamentation while subtly recalling Monteverdi’s duet ‘Pur ti miro’ from Poppea in its opening bars.

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Anthony Pryer