Friday, August 19, 2011

Five for the Weekend -- A French Baroque Playlist

I’ve been enjoying a really terrific collection of French Baroque sacred music and it triggered a listening binge. It’s a fairly typical listening pattern for me;  I’ll enjoy an album and then will bury myself in similar repertoire for a week. Last week it was Beethoven keyboard variations, this week it’s music from Louis XIV’s day. Why don’t we all binge together? Here’s five French Baroque albums that you’ll want this weekend.

This is the album that started the binge – the François Couperin motets are gorgeous.

Harpsichordist Skip Sempe and his outstanding ensemble, Capriccio Stravagante, perform instrumental music from the court of Louis XIV. If you don’t know Sempe or the lavishly produced albums on the Alpha label, you are in for a treat.

François Couperin’s delicious instrumental music for Louis XIV’s personal pleasure is performed with an elegant touch by gambist Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations.

Louis Couperin was uncle to the more famous François Couperin. Louis’s harpsichord music deserves wider recognition and there’s no better man for the job than the superb Christophe Rousset.

Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s music has a melodic sweetness that’s irresistible. This specially priced 3-CD set offers state-of-the-art performances of his sacred music by the brilliant Le Concert Spirituel under the direction of Hervé Niquet

There's your weekend playlist. Enjoy!

--Craig Zeichner

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