Archive for baroque music

kein Brandenburg für alte Männer!

Posted in Books, Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , on March 24, 2018 by xi'an

As I had to make a day round-trip drive to Luxembourg last week, I grabbed a couple baroque CD boxes, including the one above with the complete Brandenburg concertos, that I had not opened for a long while. In such a long while that the foam protection had started to disintegrate, as I found when I opened the case! Anyway, I managed to clean the stuff away well enough to listen to the CDs (while staying on the mostly deserted road), which reminded me of a concert at the 92Y in New York City, 1988, where the orchestra (I cannot remember which chamber music group was playing) played the entire series. Listening to these pieces was most pleasant, except for the harpsichord parts in the 5th concerto, as I realised I could no longer hear clearly enough the harpsichord against the noise from the car…

Leçons de Ténèbres

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , on November 24, 2013 by xi'an

DSC_5566sLast night, we went to Versailles for a concert given in the Royal Chapel on Couperin’s 1714 Leçons de Ténèbres (lessons in darkness). Although classified as baroque music, the leçons de ténèbres are more linked with the polyphonies of the Middle Ages and of Renaissance. The main theme, delivered by two and then three singers, was beautiful, especially in the splendid chapel of Versailles palace. Where maybe it was first delivered to Louis XIV, since those leçons were created to bypass the prohibition of royal operas during Lent. While I could not make sense of the sequence of songs making Couperin’s leçon pour le mercredi Saint, I found them mesmerizing, with the rhythm behind eventually revealed in the final songs. In tradition with the tenebrae service, 15 candles were lit at the start of the concert and gradually extinguished, one by one, the final notes being delivered in complete darkness. Perfect darkness.