‘An Italian in Paris’ reviewed in Early Music Today

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Nicholas Anderson reviewed our CD ‘An Italian in Paris’ for Early Music Today. He gave it five stars out of five, and the disc is also named as the editor’s choice for this issue.

With its thoughtfully imaginative programming, the high quality of its performances, and its distinctive packaging, Hyphen Press is making its mark in the heavily populated world of early 21st-century baroque recordings. An Italian in Paris brings together nine composers of whom only two, Lully and Bartoletti, were in fact Italian. What all of them had in common, though, was a fascination with Italian music and its forms. Francois Couperin – whose earliest and very beautiful trio sonata, La Puccelle, features here (later to provide him with the opening Sonade of his suite ‘La Francoise’ from Les Nations) – made no secret of his admiration of Corelli, an admiration we may well imagine was shared by many of his French contemporaries.

Couperin was no less an advocate for Lully’s music, and it is his dual fascination for the French style with ultramontane developments that provides the raison d’être of The Bach Players’ stimulating programme. This is all about the blending and juxtaposition of French and Italian styles, the goûts réunis and – by extension – that indefinable quality le bon goût. There are treasures and surprises aplenty on this menu, crowned by Charpentier’s masterly Sonata in C major for eight instruments. All is played with stylistic fluency and textural clarity.

Early Music Today, December 2014 – February 2015