At rehearsal wth my Dolce Suono Ensemble in a room at the Curtis Institute of Music, I realized my outfit matched the harpsichord. We played Dowland, Rameau, and Handel with harpsichord at our latest program. I was inspired for this Syrinx by Debussy’s admiration for the French Baroque, and especially the way in which he drew upon such composers as Rameau and Couperin in his late, neoclassical period.
We played an exciting concert yesterday: “Debussy and the Baroque” on my Dolce Suono Ensemble Presents home series in Philadelphia. I am fortunate to make music with wonderful colleagues – Anthony Newman, harpsichord, Nathan Vickery, cello, Burchard Tang, viola, Elizabeth White Clark, harp, Jonathan Blumenfeld, oboe, and Shelley Showers, horn – in a program of Rameau, Couperin, Debussy, Stucky, and Newman. We performed Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp but I didn’t slip Syrinx onto the program, which was quite full of music, so I played my daily Syrinx after the concert.
Tonight I interspersed Syrinx with Couperin’s Concert royaux #3, which my Dolce Suono Ensemble will be performing on Sunday, April 28 with our distinguished guest artist Anthony Newman, harpsichordist. Nathan Vickery, cello, and I will join him in the Couperin. I was practicing the many florid ornaments in the piece.
Our program “Debussy and the Baroque” highlights Debussy’s admiration for his French Baroque forebears Rameau and Couperin, along wtih his late masterpiece Sonata for flute, viola, and harp and Steven Stucky’s Sonate en forme des Préludes, for the oboe, horn, and harpsichord combination Debussy sketched out as part of his sonata cycle but left unwritten when he died.
We are preparing for our Dolce Suono Ensemble concert “Debussy and the Baroque” with guest artist Anthony Newman, harpsichordist and Baroque scholar. Our program will highlight Debussy’s admiration for the French Baroque through juxtaposition of works by Rameau and Couperin with his Sonate for flute, viola, and harp, an example of his late, “neoclassical” style, and Steven Stucky’s Sonate en forme des préludes for oboe, French horn, and harpsichord, the configuration of one of the sonatas Debussy planned in the cycle of sonatas he left unfinished at his death.
This evening, I enjoyed playing through several of Rameau’s Pièces de clavecin and Couperin’s Concerts royaux to make selections for our concert. I noted the title of the first movement of Rameau’s third Concert, “La la Poplinière.” Alexandre Le Riche de La Pouplinière was a major patron of the arts in eighteenth-century France. He maintained his own private orchestra, which Rameau conducted for twenty-two years, and hosted a salon attended by many of the luminaries of the day, including Voltaire.
Before Syrinx I played the opening of L’Indiscrète, from Rameau’s fourth Concert.