le badinage


Eva Reiter viola da gamba

Eugène Michelangeli harpsichord

In form and in spirit, the young ensemble le badinage is laying its own claim to the French baroque repertoire for harpsichord and viola da gamba. Le badinage excavates selected compositions from their traditional formal contexts and joins them anew by virtue of pure musical necessity. In doing so, the ensemble’s name becomes its modus operandi: light, seemingly carefree (and even amorous) playfulness gives rise to a richly varied interplay of the affects.

In their first programme, gambist Eva Reiter and harpsichordist Eugène Michelangeli dedicate themselves in particular to the works of François Couperin and Marin Marais—thus celebrating two great musical personalities known equally as composers and instrumentalists, figures who embody the quintessence of the composer-performer.

Marais and Couperin were both in the employ of “Sun King” Louis XIV, and each musician used his renowned virtuosity and extensive compositional activities to chart out new territory for his instrument. Although sometimes characterized by a certain extravagance and baroque lightness, their music never fails to be astoundingly intense and immediate—as if borne across the centuries directly to us by the following words of François Couperin:

…I can admit in good faith that I am much fonder of that which touches me than of that which surprises me.

Foreword to the Premier Livre de Pièces de Clavecin, Paris, 1713


Marin Marais (1656-1728): Prélude en la mineur (Troisième Livre de Pièces de Viole, Paris, 1711)