Sous l’empire d’Amour

Marie-Claude Chappuis mezzo-soprano, Luca Pianca lute
63:41
deutsche harmonia mundi 8 89854 52312 1
Music by Ballard, Bataille, Bittner, de Boësset, Lambert, Lully, Moulinié & Richard

This is one of those ‘late evening’ discs. Marie-Claude Chappuis is a versatile singer who here reins herself in to inhabit one of music’s more intimate worlds – that of the 17th-century air du luth – though she can’t resist the dramatic potential of Qui veut chasser une migraine. This is a drinking song, and I have to say that the interpretation, though it would be fine in concert and was enjoyable first time around, palls on repetition. In the kingdom of the air Michel Lambert reigns supreme and the six pieces by him are quite superb and receive performances to match. In truth, a half-decent Ombre de mon amant  would be a highlight of any recital. It’s much more than ‘half-decent’ here. Throughout, the musical balance of voice and lute is excellent and contrast of sonority is provided by two short and elegantly played lute suites. Luca Pianca argues the case for his archlute in G so strongly that I am instinctively suspicious of his choice, but I’ll leave that to the lute fraternity to debate. It’s a real shame that the sung texts are not translated: the rest of the booklet is Ger/Eng/Fre for the notes, but Eng only for the artists’ biographies. dhm need to sort this out.

David Hansell

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