Duetti – Philippe Jaroussky

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If you were intrigued by, or perhaps even enjoyed the videos in my recent post about Philippe Jaroussky, then here is another video. You might need to brush up on your French, if you have any, or just bear with the brief commentary.

To be honest, I’m still not sure whether I like Philippe Jaroussky and his countertenor voice, but he crops up in so many recordings these days that he’s beginning to grow on me. I can honestly say that I enjoy the above video, for the most part, because it’s so lively and rhythmic, and at times quite beautiful.

Some months ago, I ordered Gabriel Faure’s Requiem from Presto Classical and deliberately avoided the latest recording, in which Philippe Jaroussky sings Pie Jesu, and instead chose the Accentus recording where it is sung by a soprano. But I also chose the Accentus recording because it features the original scoring of the work – organ with chamber orchestra minus violins – and this scoring resulted in the solo violin in the Sanctus to cause a reviewer for Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010 to write:

We defy any sensitive soul not to be transported into a state of near rapture by the unspeakably delicious Sanctus, the solo violin of Luc Héry floating ethereally above the choral and orchestral textures like a skylark in full song.

Here is the Pie Jesu from the Faure Requiem sung by a soprano.

The Pie Jesu by Gabriel Faure, much the same as the Pie Jesu by Andrew Lloyd Webber, can be sung to great and moving effect by a soprano, young boy, or it now seems, by a countertenor.

So here is a version of extracts from the Faure Requiem sung by the King’s College Choir:

So that brings us to Philippe Jaroussky singing Pie Jesu by Faure. And I should confess that I have relented and have now ordered this version.

And finally, for the record, here is Pie Jesu by Andrew Lloyd Webber, sung by Sarah Brightman and a young choir boy.

However, I can’t sign off on this post without giving you one more video with Philippe Jaroussky. It’s the Toccata by Claudio Monteverdi, performed by Christina Pluhar, an Austrian born specialist in early music and baroque, based in Paris since 1992.

I like the way the video begins. While the titles play I can feel the ambiance of a concert hall. And then the performers walk on stage. That part surprised me. Very noisy ambience. But then silence falls, and the baroque instruments begin playing with a very rhythmic tune. Up to this moment I was thoroughly enjoying it. And then Philippe Jaroussky begins singing. I’m sorry to say this killed my enjoyment. From that moment on I found it difficult going.

I’ve played the video again several times, but so far, I can’t imagine that I’ll ever truly warm to it. To be fair, I think it’s the song not the singer.

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