December 2006

Lalande - Les Folies de Cardenio
Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Christophe Coin, conductor
La Borie LC01
Format: CD
Released: 2006

by Richard Freed

Musical Performance ****1/2
Recording Quality ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****1/2

Is this composer’s name properly Michel-Richard de La Lande, de Lalande, or Delalande? This rather basic question seems to remain unsettled, and it would matter little to those who are forever confusing this composer with his younger colleague Jean-Joseph Mouret. One or the other wrote this or that fanfare that sounds so marvelous on old brass instruments and drums played with hard sticks. Mouret wrote the one identified with Masterpiece Theatre; Lalande composed, among other things, some ballets for Louis XV in which the King himself danced, and this is one of the more elaborate of those works. There are 40 dances in this sequence, following a suitably festive Ouverture, and everyone involved in this recording must have had a marvelous time.

This is period-instrument performance at its lustiest and gustiest. The natural trumpets and old oboes are prominent throughout the sequence, and the drummer, Jean Chamboux, is almost Krupa-esque in his enthusiasm. There are rattles and ratchets, both flutes and recorders; bagpipes, and a sizable continuo whose keyboard, plucked and bowed instruments are balanced just forward enough to add color. It’s raucous, it’s arch, it’s tender, it’s burlesque, and it could not be in better hands. L’Ensemble Baroque de Limgoes was founded in 1984; Christophe Coin, the cellist and a founding member of the Quatuor Mosa´ques, has been its director since 1992. He knows his way around this stuff, and so does the production crew responsible for this vivid recording.