Réunion des goûts
Heath Street Arts
Heath Street Baptist Church and Livestream. 21 December 2021
Lully – Ouverture from Psyché
Couperin – Sonade from L’Impériale, Les Nations
Telemann – Quatuor No. 6 in E minor from Nouveaux quatuors en six suites
Charpentier – Suites from Le Mariage Forcé
Couperin – Chaconne ou Passacaille from La Françoise, Les Nations
The last concert in the 2021 series of the Heath Street Arts’ Tuesday Lunchtime Concerts (TLC) at Heath Street Baptist Church, Hampstead was given by Ensemble Molière under the title of Réunion des goûts. Sharing the stage with an enormous Christmas tree, their programme reflected the merging of French and Italian musical styles that had been pioneered by François Couperin and developed by Georg Philipp Telemann. It was initiated by Couperin in his L’Apothéose de Lully and Les Nations. Telemann continued the trend with his 1738 Nouveaux quatuors en six suites – the ‘Paris Quartets’.
Lully’s short Ouverture from Psyché introduced the programme and the distinctive French Baroque style. Couperin’s L’Impériale from the Troisieme Ordre of Les nations showed his wish to absorb the powerful Italian style in the current French style of composition. Telemann’s always approachable music was to the fore in his sixth Paris Quartet, the delicate final movement being particularly well played by Ensemble Molière. A suite of six movements from Charpentier Suites from Le Mariage Forcé, arranged by Ensemble Molière’s harpsichord player, Satoko Doi-Luck, followed before the concluding Chaconne ou Passacaille from Couperin’s Les Nations: La Françoise.
Ensemble Molière (Flavia Hirte, flute, Alice Earll, violin, Kate Conway, viola da gamba, Catriona McDermid, bassoon, and Satoko Doi-Luck, harpsichord) are clearly totally absorbed into the French Baroque style of performing, their eloquent playing revealing the sensitivities and bon goût that the genre demands. Although in essence a group with two treble soloists (the distinctive French combination of flute and violin) and three continuo players, all the instruments had equal billing, particularly in the Charpentier arrangement, when all had key solo spots. They have recently been selected as the first-ever Radio 3 New Generation Baroque Ensemble, a new scheme run in partnership by BBC Radio 3, the National Centre for Early Music and the Royal College of Music.
Further information about the five individual players can be accessed via these links – FLAVIA HIRTE – flute, ALICE EARLL – violin, CATRIONA MCDERMID – bassoon, KATE CONWAY – viola da gamba/cello and SATOKO DOI-LUCK – harpsichord.
The live stream of the concert should continue to be available here (there’s a 8’30 lead in to the concert). Admission to the live concert was by retiring collection. There should also be a way of contributing to the musicians for those who watch the live stream, but I couldn’t find it. However, contributions can be made direct to Ensemble Molière via this link.
Other Heath Street Arts videos can be found here. Building work in the church means that the lunchtime concerts will be moved to the evening in the first few months of 2022.