La Simphonie du Marais

Suite in E minor (Pièces en trio) [selections]
Anne Danican Philidor
Recorder Sonata in D minor
La Barrre
Suite in C minor (Pièces en trio) [selections]
Pièces de viole, Book II – Allemande; Tombeau pour M. de Lully
Le sommeil d’Atys

La Simphonie du Marais [Hugo Reyne & François Nicolet (flutes), Anne-Marie Lasla (treble viol), Catherine Arnoux (treble and bass viols), Emmanuelle Guigues (bass viol) & Marc Wolff (theorbo)]

Reviewed by: Alan Pickering

Reviewed: 21 August, 2006
Venue: Cadogan Hall, London

A programme billed as “reviving the music of Lully and his contemporaries and lifting the curtain on the intimate world of music devised for Louis XIV’s private entertainment.”

One could argue whether a lunchtime concert was the best occasion to listen to such intimate music; perhaps late-evening would have been a more appropriate timing. But there can be few better locations in London for such an event than Cadogan Hall. Furthermore the short duration of the recital was perhaps appropriate given the similarity of the various pieces.

La Simphonie du Marais was formed in 1987 by Hugo Reyne and is largely devoted to the revival of French music from the 17th and 18th centuries and uses instruments from the Baroque period.

The concert opened with the sextet of musicians in selections from Marin Marais’s Suite in E minor in a delightful rendition and which proved a lovely introduction to the music of this period, and was followed by followed by a Recorder Sonata by Anne Danican Philidor (a man!) with Reyne superbly accompanied by Emmanuelle Guigues and Mark Wolff. This was music-making at its best with well-judged tempos distinguishing notes égales et détachée.

Four excerpts from Michel de La Barre’s C minor Suite were wonderfully played with the flowing opening movement contrasting nicely with slower, more deliberate sections and those that were cheerful. Then came two movements from Marais’s Suite in B minor played by Wolff, Guigues and Catherine Arnoux, the latter exchanging her treble viol for a bass one. The ‘Allemande’ was lovely and beautifully played and a perfect introduction to the Tombeau for Lully, a suitably reverent piece which exploited the bass viol to its deep, rich best, interspersing sombre passages with patches of light. The final piece, Lully’s Le sommeil d’Atys was, as the title implies, like the awakening from a dream and was a fitting end to a thought-provoking and delightful hour.

That wasn’t meant to be the end, for we were denied the ‘Caprice’ from Marais’s Suite in E minor as the artists ‘had a train to catch’ – literally, due to enhanced security measures at Waterloo International making checking-in a more lengthy process.

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