5 de Diapason
As the first of a series of publications that aim to celebrate forty years of the "Arts Flo" founded by William Christie in 1979, this new album, recorded at the Philharmonie de Paris in 2016, is made up of "serious songs and “drinking songs" from France in the 17th century. Following the filming of Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea, performed at the Salzburg Festival 2018, and the ambitious complete recording of Carlo Gesualdo’s Madrigaux conducted by Paul Agnew, who is little by little taking over as the ensemble’s conductor, new editions are returning towards harmonia mundi, the "historic" publisher of the Arts Florissants and their founder.
This recording is a perfect “Map of Tendre” of the loved-up 17th century, with its lovelorn shepherds, pretty shepherdesses (jolies bergères, in fact!) who aren't always too chaste, and helpful birds. Having only just moved on from Renaissance polyphony, French composers, very much influenced by their Italian colleagues, produced airs de cour (courtly airs) which would become the first constitutive elements of French opera.
This album brings together the composers who best represent this musical trend. It gives us Marc-Antoine Charpentier as well as Michel Lambert, who wrote serious melodies, and Sébastien Le Camus, who would quickly become one of the musical favourites of the Parisian salon scene. These men dominated the musical productions which then circulated in either printed or manuscript form, or in periodicals such as Le Mercure galant. What a happy time it was for France, when love, sincere love, always won out over adversity and jealousy. © François Hudry/Qobuz