Notes and Editorial Reviews
Suites des Airs à joüer
Jordi Savall, cond; Le Concert des Nations
ALIA VOX 9903 (SACD: 52: 45)
This is a re-release of an album recorded in 1993. It was made at a time when Jordi Savall was still concentrating on the Baroque repertoire he stylistically knows so well, before bringing Mid-Eastern and Central Asian instruments into programs designed to show that religious conflict is bad. The 1706 opera these suites were drawn from proved to be an
instant sensation upon its debut, the greatest for Marais, and was periodically revived as late as 1771. The ballets and orchestrally arranged airs heard here derive from a 1741 manuscript.
The appeal of early Savall and Le Concerts des Nations is evident upon rehearing the disc. Tempos never seem mannered, and instrumental tone—always a point of concern with Savall—is focused and attractive. Solos are characterful. Ripieno passages are phrased with attention to salient details: the “air pour les faunes et les driades” accents the bounding offbeats, and the individual string and wind lines in the chamber-like opening section of the “sarabande pour les prètreses de Junon” are subtly highlighted.
Marc Minkowski recorded the complete opera two years before these suites, for Erato. That recording has yet to reappear in the catalog of Warner Classics, which has resuscitated the label. Savall whets the appetite for the entire work, but this is no mean achievement on its own. Recommended.
FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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