Diapason d'or -
Choc de l'année du Monde de la Musique -
Choc du Monde de la Musique -
10 de Classica-Répertoire -
Exceptional Sound Recording
Viol player Philippe Pierlot, a veteran of Jordi Savall's Hesperion XX, has also built a rich catalog of recordings on his own, and this 2008 disc coupling François Couperin's Pièces de Violes is another outstanding addition. Performing with violist Emmanuel Balssa, guitarist Eduardo Egüez, and harpsichordist Pierre Hantaï, Pierlot turns in readings that are thoughtful and playful, sorrowful and joyful, depending on the needs of the music. As befits his pedigree, Pierlot has a warm tone, a virtuoso technique, and a flexible sense of rhythm. Though his leadership is subtle, it is no less palpable, and the group's ensemble is tight but relaxed with an emphasis on beauty of tone and depth of interpretation over flash playing and emotional display. This approach suits Couperin's Pièces, which range from the dour to the delighted, but without ever stepping over the line into bathos or pathos. Recorded in close but evocative sound that puts the listener in the same room with the players (rather than close but cool sound that puts the players in the same room as the listener), this disc should be heard by anyone who enjoys the repertoire, the period, the instrument, or the players.