Sonnerie: French Baroque portraits – Marais: Sonnerie de Ste. Genevieve du Mont de Paris; Tombeau pour Monsr. de Lully; Rameau: Cinquième concert; Francoeur: Sonata VI; Leclair: Sonate VIII; Du Phly: La Forqueray; Dornel: Sonate IV

Reviewed on Mon 16 Sep, 2013

Following their impressive debut recording for Resonus Classics, the Amsterdam-based ensemble Fantasticus continue their exploration of Baroque chamber repertoire. This time they focus on musical portraits, homages and tombeaux by (among others) Jean-Philippe Rameau, Marin Marais and François Francoeur. The programme is an uncommonly interesting one, and these versatile performers do it full justice. Fantasticus bring to life each item's distinctive character and emotional scope with unfailing perception. Among the highlights is Marais’s Tombeau pour Monsr. de Lully, written to commemorate his former teacher, Jean-Baptiste Lully: Fantasticus relish the contrasts in this piece, from the soft and melancholy to the more dramatic outbursts, and Robert Smith thrillingly exploits the full expressive range of the viol. Another rewarding discovery is Francoeur’s Sonate IV: the lighter movements suit the ensemble’s vibrant style perfectly, and they ensure that the music dances with both elegance and finesse.
–Stine Frimann