La Divine Préciosité - Parodies Spirituelles
Soprano: Luanda Siqueira
Festival Kultur Raum Kirche - Austria
“Expression is the soul of singing.” Bénigne de Bacilly, (1625-90).
Who would guess a few slim volumes of printed music in the late 17th century could cause mayhem? Scandalous poetry, the texts of the most famous airs de cour, airs sérieux, or airs à boire was rampant in these pocket-size books printed by the Sun King´s printer Ballard. Although the Catholic Church was outraged at the faltering modesty of their faithful, they could do little to stop the most cultivated, appreciated, and popular pleasures of their time and ours – singing.
The Counter-Reformation was in need of some propaganda that would finally work. If music was unstoppably popular, why not use it to their advantage? After all, passion is undeniably universal. Texts praising love for the Divine could fit the music just as well as those racy texts about human love. Indeed, any expression - such as admiration, veneration, pain, sadness – could all be seen either as human emotions – or with some new texts - as expressions directed towards God.
We have chosen four strong Christian passions for this concert: Fear of God, Virtue, Hope, and Joy, passions that were also portrayed in the art of Le Brun (1670) in this Expressions of the Passions of the Soul. While Le Brun´s faces display expressions clearly, the provocation of the expression is vague. “Admiration” could be directed towards a lover, or towards God. In each of the four parts of this program, we would like to share our love of singing - with voice and instruments - with the eternally touching music of Campra, Clérambault, Lully, and Couperin. But this time you will hear the music in a way that will not “contaminate” your mind as those naughty texts are substituted for “divine” ones…
"From the dark aisle of the church, a voice rose, and the narrator walked forward with a candle in her hand, quoting from a text by Jean Racine. Then from the dark depths of the Cathedral a soprano softly sang as an introduction to the instrumental ensemble, "Le Tendre Amour". Songs about Fear, Virtue, Hope, and Joy - the four parts of the evening – were by composers such as Jean-Baptiste Lully and François Couperin. Luanda Siqueira -a beautiful, crystal clear, flexible soprano- was accompanied by excellent musicians on period instruments with sensitivity and style, displaying a fascinating interplay between the soprano and the instruments. Chris Pichler skillfully recited texts by Pierre Corneille and Jean Baptiste Rousseau from the pulpit and throughout the church. A standing ovation finished the evening!"
Kleine Zeitung, Maria Saal, Austria.