Viola da gamba player and conductor Philippe Pierlot (not to be confused with the flutist of the same name, especially inasmuch as the gambist has also performed on flute recordings) is one of his country's leading specialists in historically informed performance. Best known as the leader of the Ricercar Consort, he is also a noted educator. Pierlot was born in Liège in 1958. He was already showing a strong interest in early music at age 12, taking up the lute, recorder, and guitar. His teacher on the viola da gamba was Wieland Kuijken, one of the modern pioneers of the historical performance movement in the Low Countries. In 1980, he founded the Ricercar Consort, emphasizing not only the performance but also the recording of little-known Baroque works in historically informed interpretations. The group recorded several albums of German Baroque choral and instrumental music and then toured in 1985 with a performance of Bach's A Musical Offering: in a sense its namesake with its famous ricercar movement. He has also performed as a soloist, with a repertoire that extends beyond the Baroque into new compositions dedicated to him. In addition to the gamba, he performs on the rarely played baryton, a stringed instrument for which Haydn wrote some 150 works. Pierlot revived the opera Sémélé by Marin Marais, giving the work its first performance in three centuries; for this project and for other works he has reconstructed scores, providing new music where necessary. He has also conducted choral works, often using the one-voice-per-part approach, and vocal music. With Ricercar, as both director and gambist, Pierlot has released more than 40 recordings, including the Bach cantata program Consolatio in 2018. Slated for release in 2019 was an album of music by the French gamba master Jean de Sainte-Colombe. Pierlot has taught at the Hochschule für Musik Trossingen in Germany, the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague, and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels.
© James Manheim /TiVo
© James Manheim /TiVo
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Classical - Released October 25, 2007 | Mirare
The Stabat Mater Dolorosa is a sequence, not a chant, and no unified melody was established for it until the mid-nineteenth century; it was even banned for a time by the Council of Trent, but restored to liturgical use in the late 1720s by Pope Benedict XIII. Much as Prohibition did not stem the tide of alcohol use, the Council of Trent's ban on the text did not diminish the popularity of the Stabat Mater. It was during the official, 160-year-long period where the Stabat Mater was not heard in churches that Giovanni Felice Sances composed the title work on this Mirare CD Stabat Mater, featuring Carlos Mena, Philippe Pierlot, and the Ricercar Consort. This was given, not in a cathedral, but for performance in the Viennese Court, or, even more likely, in Emperor Leopold I's private chapel. On this disc, the Ricercar Consort programmed examples of at least three generations of seventeenth century Baroque musicians who worked at the Hofkapelle in Vienna, beginning with that represented by Sances and Antonio Bertali, imported Italians residing there in the early part of Leopold's reign. German Johann Heinrich Schmelzer briefly held the post in 1679-1680, but perished from the plague, so another Italian, Marc Andrea Ziani, followed him. Johann Joseph Fux, who succeeded Ziani, would not assume the post of hofkapellemeister until 1715; by that time both Leopold I and his successor Joseph I were already dead and Charles IV was Holy Roman Emperor -- Fux had been his music teacher when he was a boy. It is extremely useful to have the music of the seventeenth century House of Hapsburg set out in a program like this -- while many of these works, or ones like them, have been recorded, it is usually out of context, or within the context of individual composers. Not that such context is easily established; very little of this music was published, and nearly all of the Austrian manuscript music of the seventeenth century comes from a single source: the great, disordered heaps of manuscript held at Castle Kromeríz in the Czech Republic. Much of the music here was taken from published editions, particularly Schmelzer's, and he is heavily represented considering his time as hofkapellemeister was limited to only about six months. But the Ricercar Consort's playing of his music is very enjoyable; it is fleet, nicely blended, and colorful owing to the choice of viols, the studied ensemble sound, and the employment of a harp in the continuo. Sances' setting of the Stabat Mater is one of the most moving and beautiful in the repertoire, although it is not conceived on the grand scale of Pergolesi's later and considerably more famous pre-classical setting. The singing by Carlos Mena is a delight, and there is a setting of the Regina Coeli by Leopold I himself that demonstrates a high level of musical sophistication for a Royal. For fanciers of middle Baroque music, Mirare's Stabat Mater is well worth your time. © TiVo