Les éléments: Tempêtes, Orages & Fêtes Marines 1674–1764

Le Concert des Nations, Jordi Savall
98:44 (2 CDs in a wallet)
Alia Vox AVSA9914
Music by Locke, Marais, Rameau, Rebel, Telemann & Vivaldi

This is a live recording of an excellent programme with the theme of musical ‘tone painting’. We begin with Rebel’s Les Éléments  and end with a collection of Rameau’s meteorological invocations via Locke’s Tempest, Marais, Telemann and Vivaldi. The downside is that this kind of mixed list is inclined to evoke the school of ‘one size fits all’ performance practice so the recorder in La Tempesta di Mare  (Vivaldi’s op. 10 no. 1) has to battle with the full strings when surely solo players would have been both more suitable and more likely. But apart from this and Savall’s penchant for adding unnecessary and sometimes silly percussion I enjoyed the discs very much. The supporting material is not quite as lavish as it appears. Of the 114 pages in the booklet, 32 are advertising the ensemble’s back catalogue and just eight contain information about the music – though that is eight pages per language (six). And there are lots of nice pictures.

David Hansell