Ensemble Correspondances (photo: Joseph Molina)

Chamber Music

Lucile Richardot, Sébastien Daucé and Ensemble Correspondances

In the Baroque period, melancholy was regarded as the suffering of genius – and as a feeling that can be expressed with relish through music. Especially in Great Britain, “sweet melancholy” was cultivated as a state of mind. So it is no surprise that melancholy also became a favourite theme of English music – the bitter-sweet melancholy to which the mezzo-soprano Lucile Richardot and the French baroque ensemble Correspondances, conducted by Sébastien Daucé, devote themselves in this concert entitled “Perpetual Night”.

Ensemble Correspondances

Sébastien Daucé organ and direction

Lucile Richardot mezzo-soprano

Perpetual Night

“Ayres and Songs” from the Englsih Baroque Era

Dates and Tickets

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Programme

Melancholy was regarded as the affliction of the genius. The British polymath Robert Burton devoted a comprehensive compendium to it in 1621, which immediately became a best-seller: “Many men are melancholy by hearing music, but it is a pleasing melancholy that it causeth.” Even more than on the European continent, in Great Britain “sweet melancholy” was cultivated as a state of mind, since the melancholy individual was thought to be particularly profound and creative.

It is no wonder that melancholy was also a favourite theme of English music – the bitter-sweet sadness that mezzo-soprano Lucile Richardot and the French baroque ensemble Correspondances, directed by Sébastien Daucé, explore in this concert entitled “Perpetual Night”. The programme includes “ayres and songs” with the melancholy atmosphere one generally associates with 17th-century English lute songs.

The older generation is represented by composers such as Robert Johnson, John Coperario and Robert Ramsey, the younger by John Blow, Henry Purcell and others. They all benefited from a lively cultural exchange between England, France and Italy which enriched musical life during that time – clearly heard, for example in Nicholas Lanier’s “No more shall meads be deck’d with flowers”, which is based on a descending sequence of notes in the style of a passacaglia. The causes of melancholy in these songs are the pain of separation, unrequited love, vague longings, the tragic loss of a young prince or – as in the elegy “Music the master of thy art is dead” by William Lawes – mourning for the friend and composer colleague John Tomkins.

Ensemble Correspondances (photo: Joseph Molina)