Saturday, October 07, 2006

Lully- 1eme air des espagnols - sarabande- Le bourgeois gentilhomme (1670)

For about the first 20 seconds of this track you have no idea where to place this music. Is it modern? Contemporary? It begins with a yet-to-be identified percussion instrument(s) which sounds somewhere between a prepared piano and a tambourine. A guitar joins in playing sweetly and quietly. A solo violin enters, singing above the already rich and elegantly woven lines of the guitar. Finally, after another 10 seconds or so, we, the confused listener, can identify the period with some degree of certainty. The French baroque- made audible by the harmonic movement and f;orid ornamentation – later it becomes more obvious by the ensemble of baroque violins and harpsichord. The lyricism is hypnotic, it charms the ear in a way Lully never does, the rhythms are modern and complex- a fascinating piece that seems to float out of the 17th century perfectly intact, un-aged or dated.

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