When Emmanuelle Haïm goes on stage, she radiates a boundless enthusiasm for her cause which spontaneously transfers to the audience. It is no surprise that the French conductor celebrates one success after another with her own fiery and flexible instrumental and vocal ensemble Le Concert d’Astrée. “I founded Le Concert d’Astrée with musicians who have a similar view of Early music: we aim to be true to the score without being dogmatic but always remaining dynamic.”
In the Chamber Music Hall, Emmanuelle Haïm and Le Concert d’Astrée pay reverence to Jean-Philippe Rameau whose sacred motet “In convertendo Dominus” is included in the programme – a seven-movement work for soloists, chorus and orchestra, in which the dramatic means are already reminiscent of the French Baroque master’s later music theatre works. In Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville’s motet “In exitu Israel”, there follows the work by a composer who France, according to contemporary reports, “has as much to thank for in the field of church vocal music as Monsieur Rameau in theatre”. The 1753 work had to be performed eight times per concert season in the following two decades – probably not least because of its impressive musical representation of the unleashed forces of nature in the middle section.
The evening’s programme draws to a close with a prestigious ensemble of soloists featuring Marie Perbost (soprano), Samuel Boden (tenor), Zachary Wilder (tenor) and Victor Sicard (baritone) in André Campra’s remarkably scored Messe de Requiem, in which four groups of musicians are required: a five-part “Grand Chœur”, a two- to three-part “Petit Chœur”, three vocal soloists plus an instrumental group known as “Symphony”.