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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Cantatas (sacred) - Released February 16, 2018 | Mirare
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diapason d'or / Arte
The cantata Jesus nahm zu sich die Zwölfe (Jesus gathered the twelve to Himself) BWV 22, holds a historic place in Bach’s work. Indeed he composed it while still in Köthen, as an audition piece for the position of Thomaskantor in Leipzig, and then conducted it on February 7th, 1723, maybe even singing the bass part himself. Famously the city council, unable to convince its preferred composers – Telemann, Graupner and two others –, decided to settle with “mediocre” Bach… The gospel of the day first announces his death and his resurrection by Christ and his disciplines. A modest orchestra: voices, strings, one oboe and continuo, but the musical content is – like in almost all of Bach’s cantatas – amongst the best he’s ever written. For the same celebration, Bach composed a new cantata the following year, Herr Jesu Christ, wahr’ Mensch und Gott (Lord Jesus Christ, true Man and God) BWV 127. But it has almost nothing in common with the previous piece: here Bach offers a very impressive reflection on physical death. Throughout his cantatas he called for a blessed death to free himself from the vicissitudes of life on Earth, but this now reveals how much he may have feared physical death itself. The aria ”Die Seele ruht” is one of these sublime moments suspended in time, an ineffable tintinnabulum, in which the soprano and the oboe dialogue on a harrowing theme while the flutes and string pizzicatos symbolise the passing of time with incredible beauty. Finally it’s with Die Elenden sollen essen (The miserable shall eat) BWV 75 that Bach started off his work in Leipzig, in St. Nicholas Church this time, as the cantatas were alternately performed in both churches. Probably because he wanted to start with a bang, he designed this cantata on a huge scale: fourteen numbers, divided in two parts. Of course Bach would have never been able to produce such vast and powerful partitions on a weekly basis, but there is a real substance to this Passion… and it’s with great passion that Philippe Pierlot, his Ricercar Consort and the soloists perform these masterpieces. © SM/Qobuz