Magazine article Gramophone

F Couperin * Brossard: Brossard Stabat Mater

Magazine article Gramophone

F Couperin * Brossard: Brossard Stabat Mater

Article excerpt

F Couperin * Brossard

Brossard Stabat mater, SdB8. Trio Sonatas--SdB220; SdB223 F Couperin Trols Lecons de Tenebres (a)

(a) Lucy Crowe, (a) Elizabeth Watts sops La Nuova Musica / David Bates org Harmonia Mundi (F) [SACD]. HMU80 7659 (71' * DDD/DSD * T/t)

La Nuova Musica, anticipating the 2017 Lenten season, have coupled lamentations by two turn-of-the-century (17th to 18th) French composers--one an amateur, the other highly professional, both ardent admirers of the Italian style. The twist is that Brossard was composing for Meaux Cathedral and Couperin the relatively private contemplation of the elderly Louis XIV.

Brossard's Stabat mater has been recorded twice before--by Olivier Schneebeli (Astree/Naive, 1/98) and Herve Niquet (Glossa, 2/11)--though each received a lukewarm review in these pages. La Nuova Musica, directed by David Bates, give a dramatic, well-paced performance that shows Brossard's slender if learned talent to best effect. Unlike Schneebeli, who employed boy sopranos and Old French pronunciation of the Latin texts, Bates produces a more modern, full-bodied sound, and it is the grands choeurs rather than the petits choeurs that most impress. To add to our impression of Brossard, the first recorded performance is included of his unpublished E minor Trio Sonata, which clearly reflects Brossard's knowledge and command of the instrumental styles of Corelli and his Italian predecessors and provides another interesting parallel with Couperin, who was composing 'sonades' at much the same time. …

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