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Lalande, de Lalande, Delalande, take your pick (the last-mentioned is preferred on this disc), was a favoured composer of Louis XIV. By the time of his death in 1726 he had occupied all the principal musical posts at court and had composed over 60 ‘grands motets’, numerous sacred pieces for smaller ensembles and almost 20 ballets. The main corpus of his instrumental music is contained in a vast collection of ‘Simphonies pour les Soupers du Roy’ assembled over different periods into dance suites. The music is full of character and charm and nowhere more so than in three ‘Caprices ou Fantaisies’ all of which feature in this pleasingly presented programme.

The Elbipolis Baroque Orchestra Hamburg has confined itself primarily to German repertoire, until now. Here the musicians present their French credentials with aplomb if not invariably with ultramontine inflexions. The music has been preserved in ‘short score’, in this instance mostly upper part and bass from which the composer’s fuller intentions can be realised. Frequent references to particular instrumentation allow us to form a clear picture of Delalande’s colourful and rich-textured palette.

Violinist and director Jürgen Gross has selected dances from three suites whose instrumentation here is confined to woodwind and strings. Among them are two extended Passacailles and a fine Sarabande en Rondeau. The musical high watermark, though is the second Caprice in G minor ‘que le Roy demandoit souvent’. Here we find passages of sustained, and tender beauty, sometimes with a hint of melancholy.

Nicholas Anderson Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2015 - ©Rhinegold Publishing