Nicolette Moonen

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

French composers make up some of the Baroque violinist's favourite recordings

I’m not interested in singers for their voices alone – I’m interested in the way they deliver the text

Jaap Schröder (violin) Lambert Orkis (fortepiano)
Mozart Violin Sonatas
Jaap Schröder was my teacher. He’s 86 and still playing. He has got a way of playing that is like speaking, which really appeals to me. These pieces are for piano and violin accompaniment, and this recording shows a real understanding of that balance – the violin merges with the piano and gives commentaries.

Maya Homburger (violin) Camerata Kilkenny
Biber The Mystery Sonatas
Maya is a colleague and friend, and she dares to be different and follow her own musical instincts. The Mystery Sonatas by Biber are interesting pieces – they represent the 15 stages of the Rosary, and they’re very programmatic. Maya more than anyone has managed to get to the core of them – she explores all the sound possibilities in the works, and tells the story of each mystery through the music.

Christophe Prégardien (tenor) Michael Gees (piano)
Between Life and Death
This is a collection of mostly Romantic songs, and it’s the most superb song recital I’ve heard for a long time. Prégardien really goes for the text. I’m not interested in singers for their voices alone – I’m interested in the way they deliver the text. I’m a frustrated singer myself. I love working with singers and this is the basis of my ensemble, the Bach Players.

Les Arts Florissants/William Christie
Lully Atys (DVD)
This is the most wonderful production of a French opera. In the UK, people hardly do French opera, and the directors don't dare to follow the original stage directions in the score. If you look at this production, so much research has gone into it, and there's also a personal interpretation. Also, I am half French, so I have a particular passion for this music. I teach French Baroque music at Dartington – it’s invariably dance music, so it’s important to understand the dance.

Charles Trenet
100 chansons d’or
I love French chanson, and Charles Trenet is my favourite. You can understand every word – he speak–sings, and sometimes goes into interpreter speaking voice. Some violinists are only interested in producing a beautiful sound, but that’s not interesting for me if there’s nothing else. You should use all the colours that a musical text gives you, even if they are not always beautiful. Charles Trenet is a good example of that.

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