Théotime Langlois de Swarte: Dramatic flair
French Baroque violinist Théotime Langlois de Swarte has released four albums in a little over a year. He shares with Charlotte Gardner the origins of his dream of uncovering the works of long-forgotten composers – and how that project has come to fruition
Well, knock me down with a feather. Back in September 2018 I attended a Paris concert at the Auditorium du Louvre given by lutenist Thomas Dunford’s period group Ensemble Jupiter. I was there to hear a Vivaldi concerto performed by The Strad’s February 2019 cover star, cellist Bruno Philippe. Yet I also repeatedly found my eyes and ears gravitating towards a slim, black-floppy-haired figure in the violin section. Not because this violinist wasn’t playing like a sensitive ensemble member – indeed, part of the pull was exactly how alive and responsive he was to his fellow musicians. More, it was the degree of serious intensity written all over his face, and the singing personality of his sound.
Onwards to January 2019, and the same thing happened at the Opéra Royal de Versailles as I caught The Beggar’s Opera with Les Arts Florissants. William Christie and his band were on stage rather than in the pit and were clearly having a complete party. Beyond the ever sprightly Christie himself and Dunford again on the lute, the other figure who lodged in my memory was a black-floppy-haired violinist giving it his all…