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Echo de Paris
22 Jan 2008

Echo de Paris: Parisian Love Songs 1610-1660

National styles of music in the seventeenth century were often distinctive, and in the case of French and Italian music, famously so.

Echo De Paris — Parisian Love Songs 1610-1660

Stephan van Dyck, Private Musicke, Pierre Pitzl (cond.)

Accent ACC 24173

$21.99  Click to buy

However, this may ultimately veil the reality that in cosmopolitan centers such as Paris, musicians of diverse nationalities were active and the range of styles “polyglot.” This diversity is one of the more prominent features of the excellent anthology, Echo de Paris: Parisian Love Songs 1610-1660. There are certainly the expected airs de cour by composers such as Pierre Guédron and Michel Lambert, and these strophic airs themselves are diverse: some are intimate and languorous, others show the clear influence of the dance. But there are also Spanish songs by the Frenchman Etienne Moulinié and Italian songs by visiting Italians Luigi Rossi and Francesco Cavalli. And underscoring the diversity is the large number of instrumental pieces here, much of which proceeds in Italian and Spanish accents.

The performances are superb. The Belgian tenor, Stephan van Dyck, sings with a free and beautifully natural sound, the forward placement of which makes the intimate scale especially effective. He has declamatory agility, as well, as in Moulinié’s “O Stelle homicide,” and he handles his ornamental graces deftly and with stylistic ease. Private Musicke—for this recording an ensemble of guitars, viols, lutes, and colascione—are wonderfully engaging in the “expatriate” music of the Italian guitarist, Giovanni Paolo Foscarini; their red-blooded rendition of his “Folia” is irresistibly brilliant, as is their imaginative, swinging performance of Luis de Briceno’s “Caravanda Ciacona.” Rhythmic verve of the highest order! But Private Musicke’s collaborative work in the vocal pieces is also unusually good. In Cavalli’s “Lamento di Apollo,” a moving lament with the expected ground bass propensities, the ensemble accompaniment is dramatically fluid and highly textured—quite memorably so—in ways that take one to the heart of spontaneous music making.

Echo de Paris may not give you exactly what you expect in an anthology subtitled Parisian Love Songs. With its rich array of national styles and instrumental pieces, it gives you much more, indeed, and all of it performed with a consummate sense of grace and flair. Musical cosmopolitanism at its best!

Steven Plank

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