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Philippe Pierlot

Friday, 17 May 2013

The viola da gamba player's favourite recordings span everything from early music to bossa nova and avant-garde classics

I owe my career as a musician to Georges Brassens

Georges Brassens
Georges Brassens Saturne
I owe my career as a musician to the French singer–songwriter Georges Brassens. As a teenager I loved and knew all his songs and I learnt to play them on the guitar. Brassens has the reputation of being a boring musician but this beautifully melancholic song, included in his album Les Copains d’abord Vol.8, proves the contrary.

Ensemble Alarius  
Johann Rosenmüller Sonata in E minor
I listened to this recording so many times when I decided to dedicate myself to music and the viola da gamba. Ensemble Alarius’s interpretation still sounds to me completely modern, even after 50 years. The musicians inspired me very much: they include my teacher Wieland Kuijken and Janine Rubinlicht, an extraordinary violinist who brilliantly communicated her passion and curiosity to me. I did my first concerts on the viol with her.

Pierre Boulez
Arnold Schoenberg Gurre-Lieder
This was one of my favourite works during my studies and I played this recording to many friends, who generally couldn’t guess it was composed by Schoenberg. The introduction is simultaneously transparent, shimmering, passionate and superb.

Ricercar Consort  
Matthias Weckmann Zion spricht
At the start of my career, I explored a great deal of early Baroque German religious music. Among the many composers I discovered, my favourite is Matthias Weckmann, who deserves to be more widely known. He composed this ‘sacred concerto’ after losing his wife and friends to a terrible plague in Hamburg. In this music you can feel immense distress, as well as a lot of hope.

Vinicius de Moraes, Maria Creuza, Toquinho
Vinicius de Moraes Samba em preludio
I discovered bossa nova some 20 years ago, when I travelled to Brazil for the first time. Though I knew most of the songs, they seemed like new performed in their homeland. I was so impressed by the importance of music in Brazilian daily life – everyone was singing and playing – I thought it was such a pity we have lost this in the ‘old world’.

Philippe Pierlot gives a masterclass at the Boston Early Music Festival on 13 June


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