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Christina Pluhar|Passacalle de la Follie

Passacalle de la Follie

Christina Pluhar, L'Arpeggiata, Philippe Jaroussky

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The music on this album by countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, keyboardist Christina Pluhar, and Pluhar's ensemble L'Arpeggiata might qualify as obscure, with composers ranging from the barely moderately known (Robert de Visée, Marin Marais) to all but unheard-of, except by specialists. Pluhar's aim might indeed be called specialized; she seeks to illustrate the role of the passacaglia in the French air de cour ("court air") of the 17th century. The air de cour is not a common subject for recordings in itself beyond French Baroque circles, but surprise, surprise; this is an album of great general appeal that landed on classical best-seller lists in early 2023. The key to its appeal is that Pluhar and Jaroussky cast an entirely new light on the music of the French court, which has the reputation of having the mood of a closed-in hothouse. The perception of the instrumental music of the era comes from the gloomy rooms of the film Tous les matins du monde: that of the vocal pieces from the recollections of anyone who has visited Versailles. The perceptions are not incorrect, but what Pluhar and Jaroussky show is that the French tradition was bending under breezes coming from the south in the form of the passacaglia, here given its original Spanish name of passacalle. This dance, as it did elsewhere, introduced virtuosity into the French instrumental tradition, and there are several impressive works by de Visée here, handled confidently by members of L'Arpeggiata. Even a vocal piece like Michel Lambert's Ma bergère est tendre et fidèle, with its conventional shepherdess text, takes on a new sensuousness. All the pieces are passacaglias or closely related to them, yet the variety of treatments ensures that the program never drags. Jaroussky is the star draw here, though in truth, it is Pluhar's show, and she lives up to her reputation for delivering compelling programs.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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Passacalle de la Follie

Christina Pluhar

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1
Aux plaisirs, aux délices bergères (Arr. Pluhar)
00:02:44

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals, MainArtist - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Pierre Guédron, Composer

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

2
À la fin de cette bergère (Arr. Pluhar)
00:05:07

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals, MainArtist - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Antoine Boesset, Composer

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

3
Non speri pietà
00:02:26

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals, MainArtist - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Étienne Moulinié, Composer

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

4
Vos mépris chaque jour
00:03:12

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals, MainArtist - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Michel Lambert, Composer

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

5
Improvisation on Les Folies d’Espagne (Arr. Pluhar)
00:06:21

Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Marin Marais, Composer - Robert de Visée, Composer

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

6
Yo soy la locura. Passacalle (La Follie) [Arr. Pluhar]
00:02:03

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals, MainArtist - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Henry de Bailly, Composer

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

7
Paisible et ténébreuse nuit
00:03:59

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals, MainArtist - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Étienne Moulinié, Composer

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

8
Nos esprits libres et contents (Arr. Pluhar)
00:03:54

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals, MainArtist - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Antoine Boesset, Composer

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

9
Orilla del claro Tajo (Arr. Pluhar)
00:05:09

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals, MainArtist - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Étienne Moulinié, Composer

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

10
Ma bergère est tendre et fidèle
00:02:50

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals, MainArtist - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Michel Lambert, Composer

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

11
Passacaille pour guitare in D Minor
00:02:58

Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Robert de Visée, Composer - David Mayoral, Percussion, FeaturedArtist - Josep María Martí Duran, Guitar, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

12
El baxel està en la playa
00:03:07

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals, MainArtist - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Gabriel Bataille, Composer

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

13
Chaconne in G Minor
00:03:53

Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Robert de Visée, Composer - Josep María Martí Duran, Theorbo, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

14
Concert des différents oyseaux (Arr. Pluhar)
00:05:52

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals, MainArtist - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, Arranger, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Étienne Moulinié, Composer

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

15
Plainte
00:03:41

Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Louis de Caix D'Hervelois, Composer - Rodney Prada, Viola da Gamba, FeaturedArtist

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

16
Enfin la beauté que j'adore
00:05:32

Philippe Jaroussky, Counter-Tenor Vocals, MainArtist - Christina Pluhar, Conductor, MainArtist - L'Arpeggiata, Ensemble, MainArtist - Étienne Moulinié, Composer

A Warner Classics/Erato release, © 2023 Christina Pluhar under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited A Warner Classics/Erato release, ℗ 2022 International Artists Editions and Productions GmbH, under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited

Album review

The music on this album by countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, keyboardist Christina Pluhar, and Pluhar's ensemble L'Arpeggiata might qualify as obscure, with composers ranging from the barely moderately known (Robert de Visée, Marin Marais) to all but unheard-of, except by specialists. Pluhar's aim might indeed be called specialized; she seeks to illustrate the role of the passacaglia in the French air de cour ("court air") of the 17th century. The air de cour is not a common subject for recordings in itself beyond French Baroque circles, but surprise, surprise; this is an album of great general appeal that landed on classical best-seller lists in early 2023. The key to its appeal is that Pluhar and Jaroussky cast an entirely new light on the music of the French court, which has the reputation of having the mood of a closed-in hothouse. The perception of the instrumental music of the era comes from the gloomy rooms of the film Tous les matins du monde: that of the vocal pieces from the recollections of anyone who has visited Versailles. The perceptions are not incorrect, but what Pluhar and Jaroussky show is that the French tradition was bending under breezes coming from the south in the form of the passacaglia, here given its original Spanish name of passacalle. This dance, as it did elsewhere, introduced virtuosity into the French instrumental tradition, and there are several impressive works by de Visée here, handled confidently by members of L'Arpeggiata. Even a vocal piece like Michel Lambert's Ma bergère est tendre et fidèle, with its conventional shepherdess text, takes on a new sensuousness. All the pieces are passacaglias or closely related to them, yet the variety of treatments ensures that the program never drags. Jaroussky is the star draw here, though in truth, it is Pluhar's show, and she lives up to her reputation for delivering compelling programs.

© James Manheim /TiVo

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