In performing transcriptions of excerpts from the operas of Lully and Purcell, Soprano Françoise Masset and Organist Michael Alabau enter unlikely territory. Not only is the notion of performing such literature in a church a bit unlikely, the use of an organ built on North German models, particularly Arp Schnitger, presents resources not commonly encountered by the French Lully or the English Purcell.
Despite these anomalies, the music heard here is very well presented and quite an enjoyable departure from the more formal works usually heard on such an organ. Showing fine ensemble skills, both performers are pleasingly comfortable with 17th-century style. Alabau’s skilled transcriptions render the music in thoroughly credible form.
The organ heard here was built in 2001 by the Swiss firm Orgelbau Felsberg in the style of Arp Schnitger, with 44 stops on 3 manuals and pedal in the Church of St. Vaast in Bethune, France. With a complete stoplist in north German style, it possesses an array of accompanimental stops in addition to developed choruses, all used to excellent effect by Michael Alabau.
Armide: Ouverture, Monologue d’Armide
Le Triomphe de l’Amour: Ritornelle pour Diane et air de Diane; Prélude pour Diane er airs de Diana; Prélude pour la Nuit; Ritournelle, air de Mercure at Choeur de Divinités
Amadis: Air d’Arcabonne, Scène entre Arcabonne et l’Ombre d’Ardan
Alceste: Pompe funèbre
King Arthur: Passacaille
Dido and Aenaeas: Ouverture, Aie de Didon, Duo des Sorcières, Choeur en echo, Ritournelle et air de Belinda, Air de la Seconde Dame, Choeur et scène finale
Orphée: Imploration d’Eurydice aus enfers