WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Douce Beauté / Joel Cohen, Boston Camerata


Release Date: 05/19/1998 
Label:  Erato   Catalog #: 21656   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Pierre GuédronAnonymousAdrien le RoyRobert Ballard,   ... 
Performer:  Anne Azéma
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This jaunty disc takes a novel approach to the air de cour – novel at least in terms of the current discography. The usual way into this repertory is embodied in a recent disc, also centred on the composer Pierre Guedron (Sinfonia, 5/98), in which a single singer is accompanied by a lute. For the most part, the songs recorded here were published in that form; but in a very few prints the music was presented in versions for four voices. Joel Cohen adopts a mixture of styles, including not only the ‘straight’ solo/lute option, but also the vocal quartet, the mixed instrumental ensemble, and a combination of voices, instruments and assorted percussion. As I have just indicated, hard evidence for this sort of flexibility is fairly thin on the Read more ground; on the other hand, it is of a piece with the Boston Camerata’s longstanding approach to secular music in general.

The showmanship is enjoyable on its own terms, and makes for varied and (mostly) entertaining listening – if one is prepared to overlook weak links in a patchy cast, and a type of vocal production that comes across as rather dated. The wider question is whether it is appropriate to the air de cour. Cohen’s introductory essay draws a comparison between this genre and Broadway musicals. The analogy appears to validate the Camerata’s emphasis on “putting on a good show”, with bells and whistles; but sociologically and aesthetically it is very debatable. For all its popularity, the air de cour (as its name implies) was in essence a courtly genre, refined and affected. (It is significant that even the airs with risque subject-matter include very few of the obscenities commonly found in the songs of 50 years earlier.) So Cohen’s occasional descents into slapstick strike me as ill-judged and overblown; compare the drunken tomfoolery of Qui veut chasser une migraine with Nigel Rogers’s reading with Anthony Bailes (EMI Reflexe, 12/80 – nla) which captures the spirit of a drinking-song without needlessly spoiling a fine tune. Thankfully, nothing else here is quite as extreme, but Cohen’s broad interpretation of the style tends to get in the way of that crucial conjunction of text and music. In this regard, the air de cour is the Gallic response to the Italian stricture, “Prima le parole, doppo la musica”. While there is certainly a danger of taking that injunction too literally (Guedron’s contemporaries were perfectly happy to set his most popular melodies, Est-ce Mars, for instance, to foreign ditties), here the opposite danger looms: that of losing the wood for the trees. Whether or not Guedron was “the finest French melodist between Dufay and Offenbach” (dixit Cohen), his music has sufficient charm and strength to stand on its own.

Fabrice Fitch, Gramophone [9/1998]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Quand l'infidelle usoit envers moy by Pierre Guédron
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
2. Bien qu'un cruel martire by Pierre Guédron
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
3. Lors que Leandre amoureux by Pierre Guédron
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
4. En ce bois si beau by Pierre Guédron
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
5. Douce beauté by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1613; France 
6. D'un mesme vent, Madame by Pierre Guédron
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
7. Si tu veux aprendre les pas à dancer by Pierre Guédron
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
8. Où luis-tu, soleil de mon âme? by Pierre Guédron
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
9. La voilà, la nacelle d'amour by Pierre Guédron
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
10. Quand ce beau printemps je voy by Adrien le Roy
Performer:  Anne Azéma (Soprano)
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
11. Chrétien, apprens en la croix by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1571; France 
12. Entrée seconde by Robert Ballard
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
13. Cesse, mortel, d'importuner by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
14. Si tu veux apprendre les pas à dancer by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
15. Vous à qui plaist la dance by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
16. Le cerf si fort ne désire by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
17. Ballet by Robert Ballard
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
18. Est-ce Mars by Pierre Guédron
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
Notes: This selection shares a track and timing with van Eyck's 'Courante Mars' and 'Tweede Courante Mars,' the anonymous 'Had ick duysend ijsere tongen' and 'Aujourd'huy la musique céleste,' and a reprise of 'Est-ce Mars.' 
19. Had ick duysend ijsere tongen by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Netherlands (Holland 
Notes: This selection shares a track and timing with Guédron's 'Est-ce Mars,' van Eyck's 'Courante Mars' and 'Tweede Courante Mars,' and the anonymous 'Aujourd'huy la musique céleste.' 
20. Aujourd'huy la musique céleste by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1620; France 
Notes: This selection shares a track and timing with Guédron's 'Est-ce Mars,' van Eyck's 'Courante Mars' and 'Tweede Courante Mars,' and the anonymous 'Had ick duysend ijsere tongen.' 
21. Heureux séjour de Partenisse by Antoine Boësset
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1623; France 
Notes: This selection shares a track and timing with Voigtländer's 'Als ihm Cupido eins zu reisen.' 
22. Als ihm Cupido eins zu reisen by Gabriel Voigtländer
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Baroque 
Written: Germany 
Notes: This selection shares a track and timing with Boësset's 'Heureux séjour de Partenisse.' 
23. Qui veut chasser une migraine by Gabriel Bataille
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: France 
24. Voulès ausi uno nouvello by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1620; France 
25. Sylvia, not long since halfe-affrighted by Edward Filmer
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
26. El baxel esta en la playa by Anonymous
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Spain 
27. Der Fluyten-Lust-hof: no 46, Courante Mars by Jan Jacob Van Eyck
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1646; Netherlands 
Notes: This selection shares a track and timing with Guédron's 'Est-ce Mars,' van Eyck's 'Tweede Courante Mars,' and the anonymous 'Had ick duysend ijsere tongen' and 'Aujourd'huy la musique céleste.' 
28. Der Flyuten Lust-hof: no 57, Tweede Courante Mars by Jan Jacob Van Eyck
Conductor:  Joel Cohen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Camerata
Notes: This selection shares a track and timing with Guédron's 'Est-ce Mars,' van Eyck's 'Courante Mars,' and the anonymous 'Had ick duysend ijsere tongen' and 'Aujourd'huy la musique céleste.' 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook