Amour cruel

The ecstasy of love, set to music
Les Voix humaines Duo (Susie Napper & Margaret Little)
with Andréanne Brisson Paquin or Monika Mauch, sopranos

A panoply of English and French miniatures, Amour Cruel illustrates the agony and ecstasy of love with instrumental and vocal masterpieces of the 17th century, from the exquisite Airs de Cour by Michel Lambert and viol player Sebastien Le Camus to the beauty and wit of Henry Purcell’s songs.

Traditional rivals, France and England had always had common cultural interests. During the civil war, Prince Charles, the future King Charles II, was exiled to France, where he spent many of his formative years, enjoying his distant cousin’s thriving court. Louis XIV became a model for the English prince. When Charles returned home, he brought with him a love of French culture, bridging the traditional gap between the two nations.

French Airs de Cour, love songs in verse form, were a popular divertissement taken seriously by the best composers of the 17th century. Meanwhile, the Puritans had enforced closure of theatres and banned public music in England during Charles’s absence. However private music thrived. The greatest poets and musicians collaborated to produce a feast of fabulous airs.

French viol music and technique grew its roots from the thriving English viol tradition, which flourished throughout the 17th century despite the revolution of 1649. André Maugars, influential French gambist, brought back inspiration and new ideas about virtuoso viol playing after years in England and influenced a generation of viol players as Louis XIV rose to power.

The passionate and eloquent songs and rhetorically persuasive instrumentals of Amour Cruel are devoted to the stormy upheavals of love and reflect the political upheavals of revolution!

Andréanne Brisson-Paquin’s web site : http://www.andreannebrissonpaquin.com/

Audio excerpt:  Amour Cruel, Andréanne Brisson-Paquin, soprano