Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Faraway Places

I have just posted the program for Christophe Rousset’s April 9 concert. I was struggling with the word “exotic” in the title (“Exoticism on the Harpsichord”) until I looked the word up:

Being or from or characteristic of another place or part of the world. Strikingly strange or unusual.

In that sense, the titles of the pieces from my very favorite three French composers are suddenly relevant, evoking faraway places, perhaps drums beating in distance, and … well, the imagination runs wild. Just consider a few of these:

  • Les Chinois (the Chinese)
  • Les Sauvages (the Savages)
  • L’Egyptienne (the Egyptian)
  • Air pour les esclaves affricains (Air for African slaves)
  • Air grave pour les Incas du Pérou (Serious air for the Incas of Peru)
  • Zaïde (Queen Zaïde in the Alhambra has to decide between the love of two rival Moorish princes)

Heavens: this isn’t just a concert, it is a National Geographic expedition! I know all of the pieces on this program intimately—all from Rousset recordings. It is hard for me to think of these as “exotic,” but the world was a much larger and mysterious place in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

If you already love the French baroque harpsichord repertoire, I can only assume you will attend this smorgasbord of delights. If you aren’t sure that you know or love this music, there is absolutely no better selection to serve as an introduction. Performed by the iconic musician of this repertoire.

Don’t miss the April 9 concert at the Auditorium at TSRI. I can think of no better acoustics for the harpsichord, and every seat is excellent. For details and to order tickets, visit the SDEMS website.

—Kemer