A chance to hear how the other half live - The Coventry Observer

A chance to hear how the other half live

Coventry Editorial 20th Mar, 2024   0

HOW was your day? If it was anything like that of Louis XIV as imagined in this concert, you will have arrived at its closure serene and with not a care in the world.

The Ensemble Moliere – five finely matched players clearly at home in both the baroque repertoire and period instruments – follow a programme taking us through the waking hours of Louis the Sun King, from rising, through the gentlest of mornings, watching a new play, taking supper and heading for bed.

As befits the luxury of the French court the music is as buoyant and it is gentle and untroubled.

Charpentier, Lully and Couperin all – as the great programmers of the modern era would say – hit the spot. There is a politeness, regency and delight in fine detail to this area of musical repertoire and in the hands of this ensemble it’s simply delightful.




Cut from very similar cloth these pieces – and those that followed – could easily become indistinguishable. But the constantly changing rota of instruments within the ensemble meant new combinations were always on hand to provide contrast. Wooden flute, gut strings and the church’s fine acoustic. We even had the joys of a piccolo for all of forty seconds.

The delicately stately combination of harpsichord and viola da gamba somewhere around coffee time for His Majesty, was a particular highlight.


The afternoon followed in much the same way to the undoubted delight of all, royal or not. Music from the Royal Ballet written for just such a time as this featured blissful tones from the bassoon. No suggestion in this playlist of pressing affairs of state, frustrations or the need to do anything but drift along while others do the work.

The day, indeed the concert, ended with a series of trios by Marais intended – one would have to say rather selflessly – to send the listener gently to sleep, but not before one last opportunity to admire the versatility of this fine ensemble. As a nice touch each player extinguished her light as her part ended until the final dimming of the light on the harpsichord signalled the task was done and, while the king slept, preparations could, we suppose, begin for the morning.

Imagined it may have been, but this day spent in the royal court was a rewarding, reaffirming and utterly captivating day.

 

 

 

 

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