Fantasticus: Sonnerie & Other Portraits

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Duphly & Dornel,Francoeur,Leclair,Marais,Rameau
LABELS: Resonus
ALBUM TITLE: Sonnerie & Other Portraits
WORKS: Works by Marais, Rameau, Francoeur, Leclair, Duphly & Dornel
PERFORMER: Fantasticus


After exploring the 17th-century stylus fantasticus (see review on p91), the ensemble Fantasticus proves its versatility by triumphantly embracing the French Baroque. This programme features repertoire rich in musical portraits: Marais salutes Lully in his Tombeau pour Monsr de Lully, Rameau salutes Marais in his Cinquième concert, and there’s a stampede to salute Antoine and Jean-Baptiste Forqueray (father and son). Among those bending the knee to ‘La Forcroy’, Dornel’s Sonata IV (1711) supplies an imposing Chaconne to round out the programme with infectious Gallic flair.

But it’s not all composer portraits. Fantasticus opens with a jaunty account of Marais’s lively depiction of the bells of Ste Geneviève du Mont-de-Paris, and there’s a wonderfully tender coquetry to Rameau’s La cupis – a portrait, perhaps, of one of the dancers who had graced the premiere of his Hippolyte et Aricie.

There are opportunities for each member of the ensemble to shine, including gambist Robert Smith’s plaintive expressive poise in Marais’s Le tombeau de Lully, harpsichordist Guillermo Brachetta’s supple gravitas in Duphly’s Le Forqueray, and Rie Kimura’s elegantly turned bravura in the Francoeur Violin Sonata. With their first two releases, Fantasticus have established themselves as a white-hot addition to the early music scene. Fantasticus by name; fantastic by nature!


Paul Riley