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 April 17, 2020 | Mirare
Having become a film star (played by actor Jean-Pierre Marielle, who was passionate about music), Monsieur de Saint Colombe comes to us here from the comfort of his own home where he gave concerts which proved very popular with amateur musicians as well as his two daughters. His repertoire mainly consisted of dances, namely stylised dances intended for “the personal and tranquil enjoyment” of enlightened listeners. These dances were composed in suites from the middle of the 17th century onwards and follow on from one another in an order that was gradually established over time, from the most dignified or the noblest (and slowest) to the liveliest. Not only was Jean de Sainte-Colombe admired for the grace and stability of his left-hand technique, but also for his use of silver-spun strings which were very much in vogue in France at the time and added a prestigious aesthetic to his music. He was widely praised for his beautiful playing and his way of reaching chords with beautiful dissonances that lifted the spirits of his learned and cultured audience. Philippe Pierlot (primary artist, bass viol), Lucile Boulanger (bass viol) and Myriam Rignol (bass viol) invite us into this mysterious and sophisticated world on this album, with a collaboration from Rolf Lislevand on theorbo for two of the pieces. Playing excerpts from his Pieces in D, in G and in C, it becomes clear why the composer was hailed by many during the era of Louis XIV as the “Orpheus of his age”; a legendary musician in ancient Greek mythology. © François Hudry/Qobuz