Le Concert Spirituel

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Corelli,Rameau,Telemann
LABELS: Alia Vox
WORKS: Corelli: Concerto Grosso in D, Op. 6 No. 4; Telemann: Overture Suites; Flute Concerto in A minor; Rameau: Les Indes Galantes Suite
PERFORMER: Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall
CATALOGUE NO: AVSA 9877

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Jordi Savall, master of ingenious programming, recreates a Concert Spirituel, an alternative to the staged opera which was banned in France during Lent. He subtitles it Gôuts-réunis, reference to the French delight in comparing, contrasting and mixing their own musical style with others, especially that of Italy.

The florid decoration of the brief Adagio of Corelli’s Op. 6 No. 4 Concerto promises something stylistically special, realised in the vigour and crispness of the following allegro – Savall reaches out to explore the expressive extremes. Corelli’s textures are dense and complex, three solo strings with continuo set against, here, ten more strings, playing immaculately.

SACD helps greatly in differentiating the sounds, the soloists clearly well in front of the rest, though the long reverberation of the magnificent Catalonian Collegiate Church of Cardona obscures detail in the fast movements. 

Savall’s virtuosic gamba playing is rather overwhelmed, too, in Telemann’s Ouverture/Suite, and the sustained sound creates a breathlessness in the performance.

Elsewhere the acoustic enhances; my dog fled the room at the thunder in Rameau’s ‘Orage’ (Storm) and, where forces are reduced to chamber scale (the trio of Telemann’s Recorder and Gamba concerto, the Passepied of TWV 55:e1 for two flutes), the sound is exquisite.

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Sumptuously produced with generous notes, this release is highly recommended. George Pratt