Sunday, December 16, 2018, 4 p.m.
Corpus Christi Church
Sébastien Daucé, director and harpsichord
Seven singers and eight instrumentalists from France
Music Before 1800 offers a refreshingly different December program: the Christmas Pastorale by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. The work tells the nativity story, blending the shepherds’ naïveté with the gravity of Jesus’ birth. It is performed by the superb Ensemble Correspondances, a relatively young group begun in 2009 that has been called “alarmingly sensual” by the press. It already boasts nine prize-winning CDs.
“One of France’s best new early music groups, Ensemble Correspondances shows total understanding of his [Charpentier’s] idiom and achieves a perfect balance of clean but expressive voices with crisp and precise instrumental ensemble. Their intensity is alarmingly sensual.”
Artist Bios and Program
Founded in Lyon in 2009, Ensemble Correspondances, directed by harpsichordist and organist Sébastien Daucé, brings together a group of singers and instrumentalists, all of whom are specialists in the music of the Grand Siècle. During its few short years of existence, Correspondances has become a benchmark ensemble for 17-century French repertory. The group follows Baudelaire’s notion of correspondences between the arts, performing music whose sonorities can still directly touch today’s listeners while presenting rare and original staged productions such as oratorios and ballets de cour.
The ensemble’s twin commitments to breathing new life into already well-known composers and restoring the image of figures less familiar today has already yielded nine critically acclaimed recordings. These have earned such distinctions as the Choc de Classica, ffff de Télérama, the Diapason d’Or, the ECHO Preis for the World Premiere Recording of the Year 2016, Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, Operatic Recording of the Year 2016 in Limelight magazine, and the Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros. All these recordings bear witness to the ensemble’s exploratory spirit, whether with Marc-Antoine Charpentier in O Maria! (2010), the Litanies de la Vierge (2013), the Pastorale de Noël and Antiennes O de l’Avent (2016), or the recent release, La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers (2017). Others include Antoine Boësset’s L’Archange et le Lys, (2011), Etienne Moulinié’s Meslanges pour la Chapelle d’un Prince (2015), Henry du Mont’s O Mysterium (2016) and Michel-Richard de Lalande’s Leçons de Ténèbres with Sophie Karthäuser (2015). The most recent disc, Perpetual Night (2018), explores the fascinating English repertory of the early 17th century with alto, Lucile Richardot.
Sébastien Daucé and Correspondances are in residence at the Théâtre de Caen, where they developed their first staged projects (Trois Femmes directed by Vincent Huguet in 2016, and Le Ballet Royal de la Nuit directed by Francesca Lattuada in November 2017). They are associate artists at the Centre Culturel de Rencontre d’Ambronay, at the Opéra and Chapelle of the Château de Versailles, and at La Chapelle de la Trinité with the support of the Ville de Lyon. Significant stages in the ensemble’s career have been tours to Japan, Colombia, the United States and China, alongside regular appearance in Europe (the United Kingdom, Germany, Benelux, Italy, Poland).
Solweig Barbier at www.ensemblecorrespondances.com
The organist and harpsichordist Sébastien Daucé avidly revives an abundant yet little-known repertory, the sacred and secular music of 17-century France. During his training at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon, he met the future members of Correspondances. Françoise Lengellé and Yves Rechsteiner were among his most influential teachers. He performed initially with the Pygmalion ensemble, the Festival d’Aix en Provence, and the Maîtrise, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France among others. With Ensemble Correspondances, he now travels throughout France and around the world, and frequently broadcasts on radio.
Alongside his activities as a performing musician, Sébastien Daucé works with the leading scholars of 17th-century music, publishing regular articles and taking part in important performance-practice projects. Passionately interested in questions of musical style, he edits the music that makes up the ensemble’s repertory, going so far as to recompose complete pieces when necessary, as was the case in Le Ballet Royal de la Nuit. He has taught at the Pôle Supérieur de Paris since 2012. In 2018 he is guest artistic director of the London Festival of Baroque Music. Sébastien Daucé is also an associate artist of the Fondation Royaumont.