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Philippe Pierlot|Meditation

Meditation

Philippe Pierlot

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What a treat to have a first solo album from Philippe Pierlot, the Belgian viola da gamba player best known for being the director of the Ricercar Ensemble, and what a double treat for it then to sound so absolutely ravishing.

In programming terms alone, “Meditation” is a joy for its combination of variety and musicological storytelling. A charting of the viola da gamba’s time in the sun via the music of its finest exponents, it opens with a selection of airs from Tobias Hume’s (1579-1645) The First Part of Ayres of 1605, which was the first complete collection of pieces for solo viola da gamba to be published on British shores. From there it’s a hop over the Channel to celebrate the instrument’s heyday in France. First for a handful of sarabandes and courantes, plus a chaconne, from Monsieur de Sainte Colombe (1640-1700). Then Les Voix humaines by Marin Marais (1656-1728), before returning to British shores for a few pieces by Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787), whose love for the fast-becoming-unfashionable viol saw him adapt his own pre-Classical style to something closer to that of his family friend and onetime teacher Johann Sebastian Bach. Pierlot then winds things up with his own transcriptions of two German works – the Prélude, Sarabande and Menuet from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, and a Meditation for harpsichord piece that Johann Jakob Froberger wrote on a trip to Paris in 1660.

Recorded in Santa Maria di Micciano, the performances themselves have been captured with vibrant-toned intimacy, and a nice amount of church acoustic in the mix; and while there’s audible breathing, I’m inclined to think that it’s worth it for the pleasure of being really able to appreciate the timbres of hair catching – and of subtle mid-bow modulations in weight and attack – on gut string. Pierlot’s Thomas Allred 1635 viola da gamba meanwhile fully lives up to the viola da gamba’s ‘ambassador’ nickname with its mahogany’s sweetness, and Pierlot’s actual playing is as beguiling in the rhythmic rise and fall of an up-tempo Sarabande as in his programme’s many slower-spun lyrical moments. As for the album title, this refers to the programme’s first and last pieces, which serve as an ear-pricking way to finish by coming full circle, while having moved to an altogether different and more exotic place in stylistic and harmonic terms. Don’t leave too soon either, because as the Froberger’s final chord dies away there’s an inspired postscript in the form of far-off church bell chimes. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

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Meditation

Philippe Pierlot

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1
The First Part of Ayres, French, Pollish and Others: No. 72. A Meditation
00:02:59

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Tobias Hume, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

2
The First Part of Ayres, French, Pollish and Others: No. 44. A Humorous Pauin
00:03:59

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Tobias Hume, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

3
The First Part of Ayres, French, Pollish and Others: No. 11. Harke, Harke
00:02:02

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Tobias Hume, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

4
The First Part of Ayres, French, Pollish and Others: No. 26. A Question - No. 27. An Aunswere
00:04:20

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Tobias Hume, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

5
The First Part of Ayres, French, Pollish and Others: No. 10. Be Merry a Day Will Come - No. 89. Beccus an Hungarian Lord His Delight
00:05:30

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Tobias Hume, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

6
The First Part of Ayres, French, Pollish and Others: No. 100. I Am Melancholy
00:06:06

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Tobias Hume, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

7
Pièces de viole, Tournus Manuscript: No. 91. Sarabande
00:02:08

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

8
Pièces de viole, Tournus Manuscript: No. 93. Courante
00:01:37

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

9
Pièces de viole, Tournus Manuscript: No. 49. Courante - No. 50. Double
00:03:02

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

10
Pièces de viole, Tournus Manuscript: No. 83. Sarabande - No. 84. Double
00:03:42

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

11
Pièces de viole, Tournus Manuscript: No. 48. Chaconne
00:03:45

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

12
Pièces de viole, Livre 2 - Suite No. 3 in D Major: No. 63. Les Voix Humaines (Lentement)
00:06:08

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Marin Marais, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

13
Piece in D Minor, WK 205. Arpeggio (No. 20 from "27 Pieces for Bass Viol - The Drexel Manuscript 5871")
00:02:28

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Carl Friedrich Abel, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

14
Piece in D Minor, WK 206 (No. 21 from "27 Pieces for Bass Viol - The Drexel Manuscript 5871")
00:03:22

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Carl Friedrich Abel, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

15
Adagio in D Minor, WK 209 (No. 24 from "27 Pieces for Bass Viol - The Drexel Manuscript 5871")
00:03:39

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Carl Friedrich Abel, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

16
Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: I. Prélude (Version for Viola Da Gamba by Philippe Pierlot)
00:02:24

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

17
Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: IV. Sarabande (Version for Viola Da Gamba by Philippe Pierlot)
00:02:51

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

18
Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: V. Menuets I & II (Version for Viola Da Gamba by Philippe Pierlot)
00:03:52

Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer - Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

19
Partita in D Major, FbWV 620: I. Meditation faite sur ma mort future, laquelle se joüe lentement avec discrétion - Memento mori Froberger (Version for Solo Viola Da Gamba by Philippe Pierlot)
00:05:52

Philippe Pierlot, MainArtist, ViolaDaGamba - Johann Jakob Froberger, Composer - Fabrizio Lepri, Producer

2022 Flora 2022 Flora

Album Description

What a treat to have a first solo album from Philippe Pierlot, the Belgian viola da gamba player best known for being the director of the Ricercar Ensemble, and what a double treat for it then to sound so absolutely ravishing.

In programming terms alone, “Meditation” is a joy for its combination of variety and musicological storytelling. A charting of the viola da gamba’s time in the sun via the music of its finest exponents, it opens with a selection of airs from Tobias Hume’s (1579-1645) The First Part of Ayres of 1605, which was the first complete collection of pieces for solo viola da gamba to be published on British shores. From there it’s a hop over the Channel to celebrate the instrument’s heyday in France. First for a handful of sarabandes and courantes, plus a chaconne, from Monsieur de Sainte Colombe (1640-1700). Then Les Voix humaines by Marin Marais (1656-1728), before returning to British shores for a few pieces by Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787), whose love for the fast-becoming-unfashionable viol saw him adapt his own pre-Classical style to something closer to that of his family friend and onetime teacher Johann Sebastian Bach. Pierlot then winds things up with his own transcriptions of two German works – the Prélude, Sarabande and Menuet from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, and a Meditation for harpsichord piece that Johann Jakob Froberger wrote on a trip to Paris in 1660.

Recorded in Santa Maria di Micciano, the performances themselves have been captured with vibrant-toned intimacy, and a nice amount of church acoustic in the mix; and while there’s audible breathing, I’m inclined to think that it’s worth it for the pleasure of being really able to appreciate the timbres of hair catching – and of subtle mid-bow modulations in weight and attack – on gut string. Pierlot’s Thomas Allred 1635 viola da gamba meanwhile fully lives up to the viola da gamba’s ‘ambassador’ nickname with its mahogany’s sweetness, and Pierlot’s actual playing is as beguiling in the rhythmic rise and fall of an up-tempo Sarabande as in his programme’s many slower-spun lyrical moments. As for the album title, this refers to the programme’s first and last pieces, which serve as an ear-pricking way to finish by coming full circle, while having moved to an altogether different and more exotic place in stylistic and harmonic terms. Don’t leave too soon either, because as the Froberger’s final chord dies away there’s an inspired postscript in the form of far-off church bell chimes. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz

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