Christophe Rousset, the world renowned conductor and Harpsichordist has marked the 20th anniversary of his founding of his ensemble Les Talens Lyriques. He marked the occasion with a low-key prom at lunchtime that encompassed what is known amongst the French as La Réunion des Goûts.
His involves composers looking for inspiration from Italy, and attempting to combine the sensuality of Italian music along with the quintessential formal elegance that French music is famed for. This phenomenon dates back to the early part of the 18th century, though it has its roots with Lully, an influential French musician in the 17th century. He was Florentine by birth and then travelled to France in the entourage that accompanied Cardinal Mazarin.
Those taking part in Les Talens Lyriques are considered to be amongst the most talented and stylish Baroque ensembles, and Rousset himself is undoubtedly an exquisite performer. The only small quibble was that Couperin’s La Piémontaise, the last of a series of musical suites known collectively as Les Nations felt as if went on too long, but we have to blame Couperin for this and not Rousset. This was despite its graceful conclusion where the flute lines and close harmonies melded to create a very sensual Sarabande.