Thursday 18 January 2018

Sébastien Daucé introduces his programme for the London Festival of Baroque Music

London Festival of Baroque Music
The 2018 London Festival of Baroque Music was launched on Tuesday 16 January 2018 with an event in the grand spaces of the former Conservative Club in St James's Street. This year's festival has Sébastien Daucé as Guest Artistic Director and he introduced highlights of the festival (which runs from 11 to 19 May 2018) and was joined by members of his Ensemble Correspondance, Mathilde Vialle (viola da gamba) and Thibaut Roussel (theorbo), to perform Francois Couperin's Suite No 1 in E minor for viola da gamba, harpsichord and theorbo. 

Sébastien Daucé
Sébastien Daucé
There is very much a French theme to this year's festival, under the title of Treasures of the Grand Siecle, and performers include Le Poème Harmonique (director Vincent Dumestre), Fuoco E Cenere (director Jay Bernfield), Le Concert de l'Hostel-Dieu (director Franck Emmanuel Comte), Duo Coloquintes, Arnaud de Pasquale, Les Kapsbergirls, Doulce Memoire (director Denis Raisin Dadre) and Sébastien Daucé's own group Ensemble Correspondances.

The music at the festival is focused on the court of Louis XIV. At the launch Sébastien Daucé talked about Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Histoires sacrées, oratorios written after his sojourn in Rome. Charpentier's manuscripts for the works contain stage directions and other indications that some sort of staging might have been done (as was done for oratorio in Rome). So Sébastien Daucé and director Vincent Huguet have put together a staging of three to answer the question, could these works be staged?

Sébastien Daucé and Ensemble Correspondances will also be performing at the festival's final concert, when Daucé's edition of Le Ballet Royal de la Nuit will be performed. Le Ballet Royal de la Nuit was a hugely influential ballet du court performed in 1653 at the court of the young Louis XIV to mark the end of the Fronde. It was huge in scale and marked the appearance of the 15 year old Louis as the Sun, cementing the idea of him as The Sun King. The music for the ballet was thought to have disappeared but the violin part was discovered six years ago and from this Daucé has re-constructed the ballet. The full ballet lasted all night, so only an extract will be performed. Daucé calls the music striking and strange.

The late night sequence of concerts will be based around the idea of Tombeaux, the memorial pieces which one composer would write for another. And as a step out from Le Grand Siecle, Iestyn Davies will be taking the title role in Gluck's Orfeo ed Eurydice with David Bates and La Nuova Musica. The choir of Westminster Abbey, conducted by James O'Donnell will be giving a programme of Te Deums, pairing Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Te Deum in D H146 with Purcell's Te Deum in D Z232.

Full details from the London Festival of Baroque Music website.

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