Louis XIV was a powerful monarch, called the 'Sun King', yet in his last years he was reclusive and depressed, very much in the need of alternative entertainment such as the music composed by Lully and Couperin.
This splendid collection of suites recreates the mood in the Royal Household just before the king's death. It is basically a collection of ten concert suites that are full of dignity and beauty, but are also characterised by a certain whiff of nostalgia that is characteristic of Couperin's greater works.
Christoph Rousset's 'Les Talens Lyriques' have already proved themselves masters of this type of repertoire and they bring a pomp and majesty to the music that is absolutely appropriate. It is queer to note that the recordings date back to around 1993 and that Decca are issuing them now, but it is happy to report that all is well with the sound which is astonishingly vivid. I cannot but be wholeheartedly enthusiastic about such a project that enshrines the greatness of a king in his most intimate moments.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech