Les Cris de Paris, Geoffroy Jourdain
Harmonia Mundi HMM 902298
For this programme, Melancholia, they delve into an adventurous and sumptuous moment of musical history: the sixteenth century’s own fin de siècle which Jourdain dubs a musical avant-garde.
Perhaps the most impressive tracks are the recurring instrumental performances of Byrd’s Lullaby, my sweet little baby ‘imbued with sad premonition’ and his Elegy on the Death of Philip Sydney (Come to me grief forever). The juxtaposition of forward-looking and retrospective portraits of melancholia are touchingly referenced in the programme notes and in both pieces I have been long preoccupied with the superb performances by Fretwork / Michael Chance (1990, VC 7 59586 2; 1987, VC 7 90722-2), I never thought their intimate, sinewy sound could be matched – but here Jourdain’s pairing of serpent, cornet and viols brings a gloriously rich hue to Byrd’s music. To bastardize Victor Hugo, never was there such pleasure in being sad.
To read the full text of this article please visit www.gramophone.co.uk (Oct 2018)