Grétry: L’amant jaloux (instrumental arrangement)

Notturna, Christopher Palameta
Atma Classique ACD2 2797
+Entr’acte from “La Caravane du Caire”, F-A Danican Philidor oboe quartet no. 2

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Composed in the late 18th century for the court of Louis XV, Grétry’s three-act opera L’Amant Jaloux was an immediate and enormous success, and in the manner of the times, this anonymous instrumental arrangement of the main musical items for flute, oboe, violin, viola and bass appeared almost at once, to allow amateur musicians to enjoy all the hit tunes at home. The style of the writing is lightly Galant, and the instrumental version permits the enjoyment of Grétry’s ready musical imagination without having to follow the vagaries of a late-18th-century plot! Some of the musical items in the chamber score, made available for this recording by Brian Clark of Prima la Musica, are extremely short, but all of them have an elegant charm, which perfectly evokes the French court just prior to the revolution. The balance of the CD is made up with a delightful quartet for oboe, two violins and bass by François-André Danican Philidor, which in its intensity adds a darker element to the programme. The CD concludes with the Entr’acte from Grétry’s La Caravane du Caire in an arrangement for piccolo, flute, oboe, two violins, viola, horn, and bass. It is a remarkable thought that this charmingly innocent music was composed in 1783, virtually on the eve of the revolution which would sweep its whole world away. The playing of Notturna under the direction of Christopher Palameta is wonderfully idiomatic and expressive, vividly evoking the lost world of this insouciant repertoire.

D. James Ross

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