Stephan Van Dyck / Musica Favola

D'un feu secret: Michel Lambert - Airs de cour

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Mention French music of the late 17th century, and the adjectives that come to mind are the same ones associated with the Louis XIV: splendid, imposing, ritualistic. The music of the era was exemplified by Lully's tightly controlled dramatic compositions and by massive church compositions. Both types were composed by Michel Lambert (1610-1696), but there was another side to music of the Sun King's era, and Lambert specialized in that. The air de cour, or court air, was intimate, romantic, subtle: everything that the Lully opera was not. And Lully himself composed music for quieter occasions, as well. With these factors in mind, the fine new Belgian group Musica Favola constructs a program that might have been heard in a 17th century drawing room or at the outdoor concert depicted in the painting used in the album's graphics. The Lambert airs are real gems and have not been heard much before. Several are attractively gloomy romantic laments that show little operatic influence yet have real emotional intensity; sample Ombre de mon amant (My Lover's Shadow, track 5). The vigorous dance rhythms coming from southern Europe show up in several of the Lambert pieces (try Dans nos bois tircis aperçut, track 7), making for a snappy contrast with the more stately Lully instrumental pieces, several of them chaconnes, that are provided as interludes. The entire program holds together beautifully, presents almost unknown and immensely appealing music, and receives top-notch vocals from tenor and group leader Stephan van Dyck. The church sound is a little too precious for this music, which was meant for convivial settings, but this is nevertheless a major release in the French Baroque field.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Trios pour le coucher du roi, LWV 35
1 1:33
2 1:44
Trios pour le coucher du roi, LWV 35
3 1:24
4 5:10
5 4:23
6 5:26
7 2:51
Trios pour le coucher du roi, LWV 35
8 1:30
9 0:37
10 1:09
11 2:58
12 3:23
13 3:57
Trios pour le coucher du roi, LWV 35
14 2:03
15 3:24
16 4:52
17 5:31
Trios pour le coucher du roi, LWV 35
18 2:04
19 3:22
20 3:38
Trios pour le coucher du roi, LWV 35
21 1:47
22 4:17
Trios pour le coucher du roi, LWV 35
23 3:29
blue highlight denotes track pick