A Touch Of Baroque
Derived from the Portuguese barroco or oddly shaped pearl, the term baroque has been widely used to describe the period in Western European Art from 1600 to 1750. Nineteenth century critics applied the term derogatorily for the “overly ornamented” and “exaggerated” music of composers like Bach and Handel. Today, however, the word baroque has come to denote one of the richest and most diverse periods in music history. Alliance Française de Madras recently piloted a series of baroque music concerts by acclaimed French countertenor Thierry Grégoire and his ensemble Les songes voyageurs. The performers captivated the hearts of audiences in Delhi (Feb 14), Pune (Feb 16), Bangalore (Feb 19) and Chennai (Feb 21). The concert at Chennai was organised with the support of Institut Français (India), Oman Air as Airline Partner, Saint-Gobain as AF Madras Gold Sponsor, The Park (Chennai) as Hospitality Partner and Eventjini.com as Online Partner.
A student of James Bowman, Paul Esswood and Henri Ledroit; Thierry Grégoire has won several awards from the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation and the Vellutti International Singing Competition (Italy). Widely sought for his tessitura, he made a name for himself in over 350 performances of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Molière and Lully at La Comédie-Française. He quickly came to the attention of prominent conductors such as Marc Minowski, Jean Claude Malgoire, Chritstophe Rousee and Jonathan Darlington. Thierry Gregoire has performed in some of the most prestigious festivals including Aix-en-Provenance, Beaune, Festival d’Ile de France d’Art Sacre, Wiener Festwochen and Flaneries Musicals of Reims. He has also traveled extensively around the world for concerts in several countries. In fact, his ensemble Les Songes Voyageurs was born as a result of these journeys. The baroque period naturally offers the countertenor the richest part of his repertoire but he has also turned his attention to contemporary works.
For their performances in India, Thierry Grégoire and his ensemble presented hour-long concerts of some compositions by Henry Purcell (1659-1695). The latter is considered as one of the greatest British composers of his age – his works include sacred music, theater music and the famous opera Dido and Aeneas. Purcell was trained at Westminster Abbey musical school and became the official organist of this prestigious school when he was just 22. After a period of rigorous puritanism in Great Britain, he contributed extensively towards creating a uniquely English form of baroque music. The extent of Purcell’s contribution to music history can be gleaned from the fact that he was posthumously named Orpheus Britannicus. The compositions chosen for the performances were some of Purcell’s most well-known works including Music for a While and Strike the Viol which explore the themes of love, sadness and despair. The program also incorporated some French and English musical instruments like the théorbe (a type of lute) and the viole de gambe.
Rédaction, AF Magazine Inde-Népal