Beautiful perfomances from all
- Pygmalion and Pichon: Les Funérailles De Louis XIV (Raphaël Pichon) review by RD
French baroque music has a charm and lilt that is so beautiful that even average performances can be beguiling, but when everything is right as in this performance it can be spine-tinglingly beautiful.
The orchestra of period instruments is spot-on in the playing, and not a vibrato to be seen from the string players giving the overall sound a plain sweetness that gives the music its character. The choir is excellent, with dynamics beautifully handled and a good balance of pure voices. The soloists are the crowning glory, they have voices that match the music perfectly, not strident, not wobbly, just pure and well balanced. All these three parts are blended together by great conducting by Raphael Pichon and are very well balanced by the sound engineer, much better than the BBC Proms standards we are used to in the UK.
Other influences add to the enjoyment of the performances, such as the stunning reverberation of the chapel which makes its presence felt throughout. Listen to the solo drummer in the procession down the aisle for how good reverb can sound! Also the use of the balconies and other parts of the chapel frame the whole performance with character and separation.
Watch out early on in the plain vocal pieces for the shadow of the conductor on the wall that looks very much like a clip from the old black & white Nosferatu film.
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