Ensemble Diderot, Johannes Pramsohler
Audax Records ADX13707
When it comes to French baroque chamber music, there is a real paucity of high quality repertoire; or so it has seemed until now! Move over Couperin and Rameau, there’s a new kid on the block – in typical style, Johannes Pramsohler has sought now fresh jewels for his stylish Ensemble Diderot, and what a revelation de Mondonville’s opus 2 trios have turned out to be. This world premiere recording of the six works (two of them pairing violin with flute as per the composer’s alternative versions) reveals not only a composer of great technical skill but also demonstrates that by the time they were originaly published, the level of violin playing in France had progressed immensely since Couperin insisted that only professional musicians need even attempt to play his music… Double stops abound, as well as wide leaps and other difficulties, all of them surmounted by Pramsohler and co. But – again as we have come to expect from these musicians – overcoming the challenge of actually playing the notes is merely the beginning; playing them beautifully and in a way that serves the music is key, then add a liberal sprinkling of passion and you begin to understand who they function. With the recent broadcast on Hungarian television of one of his operas, it seems we may be in for a revival of de Mondonville’s spectacular output; this fabulous recording deserves to be recognised as one of the most exciting releases of 2016, and I will be surprised (in fact, I will actually be disappointed!) if it does not win many awards.