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Lalande: Les Folies De Cardenio / Coin, Limoges Baroque


Release Date: 09/26/2006 
Label:  Laborie   Catalog #: 1   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Michel Richard Delalande
Conductor:  Christophe Coin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Limoges Baroque Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 55 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



LALANDE Les folies de Cardénio: Excerpts Christophe Coin, cond; Ens Baroque de Limoges LABORIE 1 (55:00)


The first part of Cervantes’s The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of la Mancha was published in 1605. It was translated into a host of European languages within a few years, reaching the London stage by 1612. The novel’s core of ingenious event and relentlessly cruel humor made it an instant hit; and when the tastes Read more of later societies shifted, they stopped reading the book about a pseudo-knight errant and focused instead on the popular icon of a pseudo-saint.


Somewhere in between the arch of these two responses, a business sprang up in artistically rendering those portions of the novel whose focus lay outside its bear baiting. One of these, recorded here, was a ballet (in the French Baroque sense, with much spoken dialogue and numerous sung airs) based on the first part of Cervantes’s work, chapters 27 and 28. Called Les folies de Cardénio , it was presented in 1721, and withdrawn after only four performances because it didn’t please the young Sun King. Life’s tough close to the top.


The play upon which the ballet was based has survived, but the music is incomplete in all extant sources. A total of 47 pieces have been identified, in a collection of Michel-Richard de Lalande’s work that also includes the Symphonies pour les soupers du Roi . (That might explain why several of these 41 selections prove familiar to fans of Louis XIV’s table music.) Most of the losses occur among the vocal selections, only three of which remain.


The style of the music doesn’t differ from anything encountered in the Symphonies pour les soupers du Roi , but the range of expression is greater. Instead of entertaining the Sun King with brief interludes between dinner courses or merely keeping him amused, the composer depicts actions, nationalities, professions, and movement. Each of the work’s five acts supplies opportunity for variety: an act II ball, with dances to represent Spaniards, Moors, Chinese, and Indians; the obligatory shepherds’ arcadia in act III; a dramatically static hymn of praise to the marriage of Hymen and l’Amour in act V, in which Louis XIV originally danced the latter, while the Duke of Chartes played the former. De Lalande rises to the challenge with invariably tuneful music of the sort you wouldn’t mind hearing while in the car going to or from work, in lieu of depressing traffic reports, weather predictions of snow, and news headlines about train wrecks and talk-show hosts.


The Ensemble Baroque de Limoges supplies spirited, disciplined performances under Christophe Coin’s direction. Tempos for the most part are on the fast side, apart from the “Air pour les pagodas” with its curious evocation of the viola da gamba at its most soulful. My one real caveat is the absence of any ornamentation, even when solo instruments are featured, and themes immediately repeated verbatim.


Engineering is good, if just a bit dry, and the liner notes focus more on giving us a detailed synopsis of the ballet’s action than anything about Lalande. Curiously, that synopsis divides Les folies de Cardénio into three acts, though the CD listing at the front of the notes correctly divides it into five.


In short, Fanfare recommends this work, and Louis XIV disapproves of it. The choice is yours.


FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

1.
Les folies de Cardénio by Michel Richard Delalande
Conductor:  Christophe Coin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Limoges Baroque Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; France 

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