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Classical - Released April 8, 2014 | Outhere - Rewind

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
Alpha Productions' Jean-Marie Leclair: Le Tombeau features the chamber group Les Folies Françoises under the direction of violinist Patrick Cohën-Akenine in a chamber overture from Op. 13, three sonatas from Op. 5, and the Concerto in G minor, Op. 10/6, by the ill-fated Leclair. In the concerto, Les Folies Françoises is filled out into a small orchestra whimsically referred to as the Orchestre des Folies Françoises, an appellation that can be translated as "the orchestra of French madmen," although that is probably not what they had in mind. It is the concerto that comes off best here, although all of the playing on Jean-Marie Leclair: Le Tombeau is at least decent and very French in character. It just doesn't feel definitive in the way certain other Alpha Productions issues of Baroque music, such as Bruno Cocset's recording of Vivaldi's cello sonatas or Stylus Phantasticus' Philipp Heinrich Erlebach collection, easily achieve -- Jean-Marie Leclair: Le Tombeau isn't quite up to that standard. Patrick Cohën-Akenine is tangled up in his strings during the difficult double-stops that open the title track, Sonata VI in C minor, Op. 5/6 "Le Tombeau," and one is left to wonder why Cohën-Akenine decided not to retake this passage. However, none of these pieces has been recorded with any great depth, so Jean-Marie Leclair: Le Tombeau is still a welcome addition to Leclair's catalog, and a decent place to start if one wants to investigate the music of Leclair. The booklet comes with an Agatha Christie-styled exposition of the murder of Leclair, including profiles of the four main suspects, that is informative and highly entertaining to read. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Ricercar

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Chamber Music - Released January 1, 2006 | Alpha

Alpha Productions' Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Nachtmusik... by Patrick Cohën-Akenine's period instrument group Les Folies Françoises is an unusual and provocative Mozart release that should not be lost in the veritable downpour of Mozartian offerings in the cluttered "Mozart Year" of 2006. The idea of marketing Mozart as a "creature of the night" is a popular one, and it worked well for Andrew Manze and the English Concert on the Harmonia Mundi release Night Music back in 2003. The main drawback to this concept is one invariably has to include Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525, one of the most frequently recorded pieces in the history of the world, and ironically not one that allows for a great deal of variation from the main model. It is found here, too, along with the familiar Serenata Notturna, K. 239, and the slightly more obscure Zweite Lodronische Nachtmusik, K. 287, but Cohën-Akenine seems to have found a way to deal with these pieces to make his interpretations stand out from the rest. The group that Cohën-Akenine employs is very small -- no more than 18 musicians, a number that would commonly be reserved in a recording, say, by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, for the violin section alone in this repertoire. The recording is made in the Temple du Bon Secours in Paris, a small sixteenth century chapel commonly utilized for chamber music performance. Although the high-end response is there, relatively little of the music made finds its way up into that part of the spectrum, and the low instruments such as the double bass are rather prominent in this recording. There appears to be a sort of sonic hole in the center of the recording, and the horns are placed outside in the hallway so they blend with, rather than overpower, the main instrumental body. Tempi are on the lazy side, and the playing is restrained and unhurried -- the opening Allegro of the Zweite Lodronische Nachtmusik times out at just under nine minutes, whereas the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields' recording is 30 seconds shorter, and average performances come in a full minute shorter. Cohën-Akenine's approach will not appeal to everyone -- some will insist that melody is the core component of Mozart, and the measures taken here all serve to de-emphasize his melodic content. On the other hand, Les Folies Françoises' readings of these divertimenti do seem more credible in light of the original purpose of Mozart's music -- entertainment meant to serve as background to elegant social functions and not to intrude upon them -- than most bright, straight-laced performances by modern ensembles that make a point of making the music front and center. Don't be thrown off by the lack of depth of this repertoire; Les Folies Françoises' Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Nachtmusik... will appeal most readily to those who feel that they know what Mozart has to offer already. Others might find it a soothing, relaxing, and slightly mysterious disc of Mozart. Either way, it is a thought-provoking and revelatory disc, demonstrating something valid about Mozart's intentions, rather than merely reporting the scores of his divertimenti as though they were an absolute entity unto themselves. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 14, 2015 | NoMadMusic