Vocal & Sacred music

Mad Songs

Mad Songs
From Eccles to Purcell (grounds by Purcell, anonymous masques from 17th-century England)

With Xavier Sabata
(4 musicians)

From popular tunes to anonymous instrumental masques from the Elizabethan era, and from hypnotic instrumental grounds to the highly prized genre of ‘mad songs’, the English 17th century readily explored and staged the hallucinatory delirium of distraught lunatics.

Avec Henry Purcell et John Eccles, nous partirons plus précisément sur les traces de deux personnages, devenus caracters et inspirateurs de l’inconscient collectif anglais : Tom et sa jeune soeur Bess of Bedlam, internée à l’asile Bethlem Royal Hospital, premier hôpital dédié aux maladies mentales dès le XVIème siècle.

Through the pieces by Henry Purcell and John Eccles, we shall set off, more precisely, in the steps of two characters who became inspirers of the collective English subconscious: Tom, portrayed by Shakespeare in King Lear, and his young sister, Bess of Bedlam, interned at the Bethlem Royal Hospital and who inspired the character of Ophelia.

02 may 2017 : Auditori – Barcelona, Spain

Bach : Cantatas & Motets

With Stéphanie d’Oustrac and Raquel Camarinha Tilge, Höchster, Meine Sünden, BWV 1083 (after G.-B. Pergolesi, Stabat Mater)
With Sandrine Piau, soprane Cantates : BWV 199, Du mariage, and arias with piccolo cello BWV 68, 6, 153
With Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, tenor Cantates 54 et 55, airs BWV 175, 83, 41
With Christophe Dumaux, alti Cantate 170, airs BWV 83, extraits de La Saint-Jean

(8 to 12 musicians)

In 2017, Pulcinella will continue its exploration of the Cantor’s work with the German version of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, inspired by Psalm 51 and published in 1745. This brilliant score, the young Neapolitan’s final work, composed two months before his death at 36, quickly became famous throughout Europe. In his parody, Bach enriched the orchestral texture in four parts, adding an independent viola part.

Here is what Gilles Cantagrel wrote in the booklet for the Bach Arias disc, released in 2013 : ‘Bach lived at the happy time when new instruments coexisted with the old. Amongst the latter, the violoncello piccolo enjoyed fleeting fame in the early 18th century. It is thought to have been a smaller instrument than the standard cello, endowed with a fifth string in the upper register, allowing for rapid movements in that register, with lightness and delicacy of sound. Regardless, the musician expressly mentions its use in nine of his known cantatas, in which the instrument emphasizes a timbre both warm and delicate, appropriate for the expression of indulgence or confident tenderness, for example, that of the Christian for the Good Shepherd.’


Haendel : Il delirio amoroso

Haendel : Il delirio amoroso
Cantata Il delirio amoroso HWV 99, opera arias, La Follia (Geminiani)

With 1 soloist
(10 musicians)

Written in 1707 on a libretto by Cardinal Pamphili, poet and member of the Accademia dell’Arcadia, this cantata in the form of an opera seria relates the loves of Tirsis and Cloris. Here, the young Handel displays virtuosic vocal and instrumental writing and entrusts solo roles to the violin, oboe, flute or cello. The adventures of these two shepherds allows for staging Antiquity and giving a new interpretation of the myth of Orpheus in the underworld. But this time, it is the shepherdess Cloris who goes down to the underworld to join her beloved Tirsis. The ingrate rejects her once again before she snatches him, in spite of himself, from the banks of the Styx.

Cloris’s amorous folly contrasts with Geminiani’s instrumental Follia, inspired by the Arcadian Corelli.

Haendel : Outraged Heroines

Haendel : Outraged Heroines
Cantatas La Lucrezia HWV 145, Armida abbandonnata HWV 105
Instrumental pieces by Geminiani, Handel, Vivaldi

With Blandine Staskiewicz
(4 musicians)

Economy of means, absolute effectiveness that marvellously conveys the confusion, pain and fury that takes hold of our two outraged heroines. Lucretia, raped, dishonoured, and alone, finally casts herself into hell to achieve vengeance, while Armida the magician, despite her powers, is unable to hold Rinaldo in her clutches. Bach himself admired this score to the point of making a copy of it.

All the passionate impulses are expressed in these two chamber operas in a summary of Baroque dramaturgy, inspired by a singer with whom the young Handel was infatuated.

7 december 2016 : Salle Cortot – Paris

Haydn : Between shadow and light

Haydn – Between shadow and light
The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross & Cello Concerto in C major

Current broadcast
With narrator (version enriched with excerpts from the four Gospels)
(11 strings)

Haydn is our guide for this exploration of the Classical aesthetic and philosophy of the Enlightenment.

Constructed like an initiatory journey, the programme begins with Haydn’s dazzling Concerto in C major, composed in 1762, featuring hair-raising virtuosity for the solo cello.

Then it is time for the recitation of the seven last words of Christ. Written in 1786 and revised many times, the original version, played here by a string orchestra, embodies this dizzying, demanding immersion in the Shadows of the Crucifixion up to the concluding Earthquake.

Sinfonia No. 3 in C Major, Wq. 182/3 Allegro assai - Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 2
  1. Sinfonia No. 3 in C Major, Wq. 182/3 Allegro assai - Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 2
  2. Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor, Wq. 17 Allegro - Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 2
  3. Harpsichord Concerto in D Minor, Wq. 17 Un poco adagio - Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 2
  4. Piccolo Cello Sonata in D Major, Wq. 137 Allegro di molto - Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 2
  5. Sinfonia in E Minor, Wq. 178 Allegro assai - Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 2
  6. Cello Concerto in B-Flat Major, Wq. 171 Allegro assai - Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 2
  7. Cello Concerto in B-Flat Major, Wq. 171 Adagio - Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 2