Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Daquin Livre de noëls - Baroque Holiday Bonbons

Excerpts from Daquin's Livre de Noëls often turn up in Baroque Christmas music releases. They're short, appealing gems of French Galant writing. Hearing all twelve of these pieces in one sitting, though, made me revise my impression of them.

Daquin was a virtuoso organist, and his settings of these French Noëls shows the extent of his talent. There's nothing routine about these arrangements. Every one exploits some aspect of keyboard artistry, and each one does so in an original fashion.

Daquin was also mindful of the overall effect of these Noëls. Heard in sequence they form a charming suite of Christmas classics (of their time).

My only complaint about this release is the lack of liner notes. It sounds like Adriano Falconi is playing an organ voiced for the French baroque, but I can't be sure.

Nevertheless, Falconi does a fine job with this material. And the instruments, wherever it is, is well-recorded. I particularly enjoyed Falconi's selection of stops, which include some bells and bird calls.

Even if you're not familiar with the carols Daquin bases his music on, there's much to enjoy here. And now that I've heard all twelve Noëls together, I have a greater appreciation of Daquin's skill.

Daquin: Complete Livre de noëls, Op. 2
Adriano Falconi, organ
Brilliant Classics

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