Texte paru dans: / Appeared in:


GRAMOPHONE (09/2022)
Pour s'abonner / Subscription information


Code barres / Barcode : 3760014197802


Outil de traduction
Translator tool

Reviewer :
Alexandra Coghlan

The British monarchy is enjoying an unexpected revival – on disc, at least.

Scarcely a year after The King’s Consort’s fine recording of a selection of Purcell’s Royal Odes (part of a continuing Purcell project from the ensemble), this comparatively neglected repertoire – texts heavy with jingoism, textures more intimate – is back in the new releases with a fresh account from Damien Guillon and his period ensemble Le Banquet Céleste.

Founded in 2009, Guillon’s group has a broad baroque discography with a particular focus on German and Italian repertoire. This is their first foray into English music, however, and it makes for some fascinating comparisons. Guillon’s selection of odes sits a little earlier than King’s first volume, spanning three odes (and two monarchs) from the short period 1683-85, with the last, Why are all the Muses mute?, the sole overlap between the two recordings.

It’s a piece whose formal and musical innovations emerge much more clearly here. This has less to do with the performance than with the context of the two earlier works, From those serene and rapturous joys and Fly, bold rebellion, against whose more conventional, more obviously episodic structure its new drama bursts unexpectedly and vividly. Guillon’s eightstrong vocal ensemble relish the descriptive range of a text that takes us down to hell (cavernous and black thanks to bass Nicolas Brooymans) and confronts the ‘manyheaded beast’ of rebellion (athletic and snarling in tenor Zachary Wilder’s hands) before relaxing into tender contemplation of the monarch’s ‘milder virtues’ (melting and coaxing in Nicholas Scott and Benoît Arnould’s duet).

Vocal performances are almost unanimously strong, particularly striking from both high tenors – more showily extrovert and trumpet-like in their brilliance than King’s singers – as well as stylish countertenors Paul-Antoine BénosDjian and Guillon himself. Instrumentally things are just as crisp, as idiomatic in inflection as the singers are in their English texts. It’s so subtle as to feel almost imagined, but there’s a constant underpinning of dance, particularly to triple-time movements, which, coupled with a slightly nasal focus to the string sound, seems to betray the group’s French origins. It’s far from unappealing, lightening the foursquare, roast-beef solidity of Fly, bold rebellion and giving Whitehall just a whiff of Versailles.


Sélectionnez votre pays et votre devise en accédant au site de
Presto Classical
(Bouton en haut à gauche)
Livraison mondiale

Pour acheter l'album
ou le télécharger

To purchase the CD
or to download it

Choose your country and currency
when reaching
Presto Classical
(Upper left corner of the page)
Worldwide delivery


Cliquez l'un ou l'autre bouton pour découvrir bien d'autres critiques de CD
 Click either button for many other reviews