The French trio Amarillis has achieved quite a lot in the last fifteen years. Not only have they received several prizes at international competitions, but they have been prolific in creating a discography on the French record label Naïve. The ensemble consists of two sisters, Héloïse and Ophélie Gaillard, and the harpsichordist Violaine Cochard. Héloïse plays both the baroque oboe and recorder while Ophélie is the group’s cellist. The trio is sometimes expanded with singers and instrumentalists depending on the kind of music they explore.
A recently released box set of four CDs entitled Europe Baroque gave us a mini-tour through the baroque, which drew from Amarillis’ back catalog. One the recordings included music from 17th-century Italy and highlighted works by Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi and Giuseppe Jacchini.
One of the recordings focused on Antonio Vivaldi’s music; in particular, his concertos for recorder and for cello. While expanded into an orchestra, the trio’s two sisters were the soloists in some of Vivaldi’s most brilliant compositions.
Like many a successful ensemble, Amarillis devoted an entire recording to the music of George Frideric Handel. Naturally, they concentrated on his sonatas for recorder as well as ones for oboe.
For the program entitled Jeux de dames à la Cour, “Ladies who play at Court,” Amarillis took as inspiration the kind of music that noblewomen might have played at court in 18th-century France. The composers included Barrière, Hotteterre, Boismortier, Rameau, and others.
Our new release of the week features the orchestral music of German baroque composer Johann Christoph Pez. A Ramée label recording, Pez’s music is given a spirited reading by the baroque orchestra Les Muffati under the direction of Peter van Heyghen.
Here are two videos of Amarillis with French soprano Sandrine Piau performing Antonio Vivaldi’s cantata “Nulla in mundo pax sincera,” RV 630.