Baroque violinist Thibault Noally has played with many of the most brilliant artists in the early music world, and the wisdom he has absorbed now serves as a guiding light for his own three-year-old ensemble Les Accents on WCRB's CD of the Week.
The new recording called Bach & Co with Les Accents is as polished and warm as the sound that director Thibault Noally coaxes from his 300-year-old violin. His love of vocal and instrumental music of the 17th and 18th centuries has led him toward a passionate kind of scholarship, and his ensemble sets the stage for deep dives into the communicative essence of the music.
The new CD Bach & Co has J.S. Bach at its heart, along with some of the company he kept during his lifetime, including Telemann, Graun, Fasch and Förster. The liner notes begin with a wonderful quote by the French writer Romain Rolland about history’s tendency to mercilessly guard its favored geniuses. It ends:
The world has hardly been able to forgive Handel for the impertinence of having had as great a genius as Bach’s and a much greater success. The rest have fallen into dust.”
Les Accents know where to find the jewels in the “dust.” Along with two concertos by Bach, they offer a world premiere recording of a concerto by Christoph Förster, who worked with Heinichen (also on the CD) and played second violin to Johann Gottlieb Graun (he’s here, too). Noally plays the Largo movement of Förster’s concerto (track 14) with unreserved empathy for its sadness. He has a reverence for its shifting characters – now bleak, now imploring. When the movement resigns itself to ending on a single G, you feel you’ve just heard a confession.
The brightness of Telemann’s Concerto for Two Violins in C ends the recording, and Les Accents give it a polished, dancing joyousness, so nicely captured by the sound engineers that you get the sense that you’re right in the middle of the music. Wind players Jean Brégnac, Emmanuel LaPorte and Sébastien Marq blend brilliantly into the warmth of the strings.
Watch a trailer for the album:
Listen to the album on Spotify: