(Le) Concert Spirituel at the Time of Louis XV
The title first: the Concert Spirituel was the influential series of public concerts that ran at the Tuileries Palace in Paris from 1725 to 1790 (Mozart composed his Paris Symphony for it), and this disc offers music by composers whose names featured there during the years of Louis XV’s rule, which is to say 1724 to 1774. Whether having three pieces out of the five by Telemann really represents their repertoire best is questionable, but although he was an infrequently heard composer at the Tuileries, the German’s skills in both the Italian and French styles at least make him fit to be sandwiched so generously between Corelli and Rameau.
The performances display characteristics typical of any under Jordi Savall’s direction: richly toned, suave and confidently at ease with the style. In Corelli’s Op 6 No 4 the concertino violins are Enrico Onofri and Riccardo Minasi, whose fidgety genius and uninhibited ornamentation ensure the music has its required exciting finish. Telemann’s own Italianate side, with a dash of his favourite Polish gypsy style thrown in, shows in the attractive Concerto for recorder and viola da gamba, and Savall’s solo gamba is helped out by two thickly buzzy orchestral colleagues in a French-style overture-suite. A jaunty suite from the Tafelmusik collection features a larger concertino of two flutes, two violins and a cello in relaxed and affable interplay, and the disc rounds off with a short suite of dances from Rameau’s Les Indes galantes, here lacking the spirit of some other Rameau performances maybe but still engaging enough to make one wish they had chosen to record more. The sound is on the boomy side and Savall makes his usual near-articulate moaning noises, but neither is more than a minor distraction.