The musical secrets of the French Baroque: Jean Rondeau and colleagues on the trail of the Barricades
The sounds unfold like an opening blossom, and then a persistent rhythm sets in, drawing everyone under its hypnotic spell: The French composer François Couperin called Les Barricades Mystérieuses (German for mysterious locks) one of his most enigmatic harpsichord pieces. No one knows what its title means. Some people wonder about the sounds that seem to anticipate modern minimal music. For harpsichordist Jean Rondeau, the work is the starting point for a French baroque album, for which he has gathered a number of colleagues around him - lutenist Thomas Dunford, mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre, baritone Marc Mauillon and gambist Myriam Rignol.
Together, they take the audience into the salons of the French kings of the Baroque era, which were built in the legendary lavish splendour of Versailles in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In addition to Couperin and his "barricades", other harpsichord masters such as Robert de Visée, Antoine Forqueray and Jean-Henri d'Anglebert, the gambist Marin Marais or the stirring vocal compositions of Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Jean-Philippe Rameau were also in attendance. It is an entire era that is resurrected in the varied programme in just 20 tracks and whose works have long preoccupied Rondeau and his colleague Thomas Dunford: "This music was born in our cradle, it made us the musicians we are today. When we perform it together, the exchange between us is much more than a dialogue, it is like a joint voyage of discovery to which we invite our listeners - and in the process we find no goal, no answers".
The album will be available from 29 May 2020.