Comédie et Tragédie, Volume 1 – Lully: Suite from 'Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme'; Rebel: Les Éléments; Marais: Suite from 'Alcyone'

Reviewed on Tue 10 Mar, 2015

The Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra, Tempesta di Mare, are in the midst of a fruitful relationship with Chandos: having previously recorded albums of Fasch, Handel, Scarlatti and Bach, they are now embarking on a series devoted to French Baroque theatre music. Thanks in part to Richard Strauss, Lully’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme will likely be the most familiar item here, though both Rebel’s Les Éléments and Marais’s Alcyone have also been recorded in various versions many times before. Accorded sympathetically warm Chandos engineering, Tempesta di Mare sound like a well-drilled team here, arguably a little too polite in the famously dissonant opening of Rebel’s 'Le Cahos'. Though they bring greater gusto to Lully’s boisterous 'Ceremonie des Turcs', they seem more at home in the proto-Handelian sound world of Marais’s musical tragedy, with its elegant Gigues, Sarabandes and Chaconnes. No surprises in the choice of repertoire, then, but a highly polished recital nevertheless.
–Mark Walker