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Le Concert des Oiseaux (La Rêveuse)

La Rêveuse (Harmonia Mundi)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Le Concert des Oiseaux
Bouchot: Le Carnaval des animaux en péril; plus works by Bousset, Britten, F Couperin, Purcell, Rameau, Saint-Saëns et al
La Rêveuse
Harmonia Mundi HMM902709   71:03 mins

An ornithological and zoological adventure awaits listeners here. The first 13 tracks present bird-related repertoire spanning the 17th and 21st centuries, ingeniously arranged for various types of flageolets, recorders, viols with theorbo, baroque guitar and harpsichord. Music by Britten, François Couperin, Henry Purcell, Rameau, Ravel and Saint-Saëns is heard alongside less familiar 16th- and 17th-century works, among which de Montéclair’s procession of various birds from his fifth concerto for two recorders is brought to vivid life on sixth flute (a type of recorder) and flageolet. The vibrant timbral blend of Baroque musette, recorder, bass viol and theorbo captures the humour of Michel Corrette’s cuckoo. Here, and some of the other tracks, pre-recorded bird sounds create a welcome aura of sonic authenticity.

Finally, a nine-movement suite from Vincent Bouchot’s Le Carnaval des animaux en péril (2022). This musical and ecological fable, conceived as a stage work with visual projection and narration, draws attention to the accelerating disappearance of animal species. Bouchot’s addition of percussion to the instrumental mix is masterful, for example in depictions of the crocodile-like gharial and the sea cucumber. Lavish notes include captivating colour reproductions from works of art and detailed information about the cornucopia of musical instruments heard. In all, a fine  testament to both the eclectic timbral diversity of earlier instruments and the versatility of La Rêveuse.

Ingrid Pearson