Opus 1 – Dandrieu, Corelli

Le Consort
61:45
Alpha Classics Alpha 542

If, like me, you’ve only ever heard keyboard music by Jean-François Dandrieu, you are in for a treat – especially if you are a fan of the baroque trio sonata! Le Consort (2 violins, viola da gamba, cello and keyboard) play all six of his op. 1 (hence the CD’s title), alongside three trios by Corelli (op. 2/8 & 12, op. 4/1) and an instrumental version of the French composer’s “La Corelli”.

Published almost 20 years before Couperin’s Les goûts ré-unis, Dandrieu’s trios are so Italianate that honestly, if I didn’t know the Corelli pieces from two years of keyboard harmony classes at university, I should have had trouble knowing who wrote what. Walking bass lines, chains of suspensions, clever counterpoint – they are all here in abundance, but they are not mere imitation; rather, it is as if Dandrieu has turned off his “Frenchness”, preferring to simplify the range of harmonies in order to achieve Corellian “perfection”, and it is quite wonderful to listen to. (Geek alert!)

The five players of Le Consort produce a lush sound – suave violins with lithe bow work and a sensuous approach to dissonance, supported by an unobtrusive continuo team whose string players drive the music forward as required. The recorded sound is first class (as you’d expect from Alpha!). Essentially there is absolutely no reason why you wouldn’t want this fabulous disc in your collection.

Brian Clark