Performance Thursday, April 16, 2015 | 7:30 PM

Le Concert des Nations

Zankel Hall
The colorful instrumental ensemble of diverse instruments that was developed in 17th-century France became the standard of the Baroque world. This concert features music by the giants of the French Baroque, from Marin Marais—the 17th century composer whose life story was the subject of Tous les matins du monde, the film for which Jordi Savall provided the soundtrack that propelled him to international celebrity—to18th-century instrumental innovators like François Couperin, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and Jean-Marie Leclair.


  • Le Concert des Nations
    Jordi Savall, Director


  • ANON. Concert donné a Louis XIII en 1627 (selected by André Danican Philidor)
    ·· Les ombres
    ·· Air pour les mesmes
    ·· Les nimphes de la grenouillere
    ·· Les bergers
    ·· Les Amériquains
  • SAINTE-COLOMBE Concert a deux violes égales
  • LULLY Selections from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
    ·· Marche pour la cérémonie des turcs
    ·· Premier air des Espagnols
    ·· Deuxième air des Espagnols
    ·· Gavotte
    ·· Canaries
    ·· Chaconne des scaramouches
  • COUPERIN Prelude from Deuxième concert royal
  • COUPERIN Muzette from Troisième concert royal
  • COUPERIN "Chaconne légère" from Troisième concert royal
  • MARAIS Sonnerie de Ste-Geneviève du Mont-de-Paris
  • RAMEAU Pièces de clavecin en concert, Cinquième concert
  • FORQUERAY "La du vaucel"
  • FORQUERAY "La Leclair"
  • LECLAIR Sonata in D Major, Op. 2, No. 8

  • Encores:
  • ANON. "Bourée d'avignonez"

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Jordi Savall

    For more than 40 years, Jordi Savall, one of the most versatile musical personalities of his generation, has rescued musical gems from the obscurity of neglect and oblivion and given them back for all to enjoy. A tireless researcher of early music, he interprets and performs the repertory both as a violist and a conductor. His activities as a concert performer, teacher, researcher, and creator of new musical and cultural projects have made him a leading figure in the reappraisal of historical music. Together with Montserrat Figueras, he founded the ensembles Hespèrion XXI (1974), La Capella Reial de Catalunya (1987), and Le Concert des Nations (1989), with whom he explores and creates a world of emotion and beauty shared with millions of early-music enthusiasts around the world.

    Through his essential contribution to Alain Corneau's film Tous les matins du monde, which won a César Award for the best soundtrack; his busy concert schedule (140 concerts per year); his recordings (six albums per year); and his own record label, ALIA VOX, founded with Ms. Figueras in 1998, Mr. Savall has proven not only that early music does not have to be elitist, but that it can appeal to increasingly diverse and numerous audiences of all ages.

    After finishing his cello studies at the Barcelona Conservatory in 1964, he embarked on teaching himself the viola da gamba and performing early music with the group Ars Musicae. In 1968, he moved to Switzerland to further his music studies at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, where he taught and gave master classes until 1993. He is currently a visiting professor at The Juilliard School. He has recorded and released more than 200 albums that cover the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical music repertories, with a special focus on Hispanic and Mediterranean musical heritage. His albums have won many awards and distinctions, including the MIDEM Classical Award, an International Classical Music Award, and a Grammy Award.

    Mr. Savall has described music as "one of the most universal means of expression and communication," adding that "the measure of its importance and significance cannot be gauged according to the criteria of evolution in musical language, but rather according to its degree of expressive intensity, inner richness, and humanity." His concert programs have made music an instrument of mediation to achieve understanding and peace between different and sometimes warring peoples and cultures. Accordingly, guest artists who appear with his ensembles include Arab, Israeli, Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Afghan, Mexican, and North American musicians. In 2008, Mr. Savall was appointed European Union Ambassador for intercultural dialogue and, together with Ms. Figueras, was named as an Artist for Peace under UNESCO's Goodwill Ambassadors program.

    Mr. Savall's artistic career has been regarded as one of the driving forces behind the revival of early music in Europe, the New World, and the Mediterranean; he is a leader in the study, performance, conducting, and understanding of diverse musical traditions in a far-reaching intercultural dialogue that transcends all borders. His prolific musical career has brought him the highest national and international distinctions, including honorary doctorates from the universities of Évora (Portugal), Barcelona, Louvain (Belgium), and Basel (Switzerland); the order of Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur; the Praetorius Music Prize, awarded by the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony; the Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Catalonia; and the prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize, considered the Nobel Prize of the music world.

    Le Concert des Nations

    Taking its inspiration from Les nations, a work by François Couperin that symbolized the coming together of musical tastes and heralded a "European artistic space" that bore all the hallmarks of the Age of Enlightenment, Le Concert des Nations was founded by Jordi Savall in 1989. It is the first ensemble of its kind made up chiefly-although not exclusively-of musicians from Latin countries (e.g., Spain, Latin America, Italy, Portugal, France, etc.), all of whom are outstanding specialists in performance using period instruments. The impact of the ensemble's recordings and concerts given in the major cities and music festivals during the past 25 years has established its reputation as one of the best original instrument ensembles performing today. Its broad and varied repertoire ranges from the earliest music to be composed for orchestra to the masterpieces of the Romantic period. In tonight's concert, Mr. Savall is joined by the principal soloists from this ensemble.

    Marc Hantaïwas a pupil of Barthold Kuijken at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, where he was awarded the Diplôme supérieur avec grande distinction in 1986. He has performed as principal flutist with well-known early-music orchestras, including the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra (Ton Koopman), Les Arts Florissants (William Christie), Collegium Vocale Gent (Philippe Herreweghe), La Petite Bande (Sigiswald Kuijken), Europa Galante (Fabio Biondi), Ricercar Consort (Philippe Pierlot), Le Concert Français (Pierre Hantaï), Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble (Thomas Hengelbrock), La Chambre Philharmonique (Emmanuel Krivine), Anima Eterna Brugge (Jos van Immerseel), and Le Concert des Nations (Jordi Savall). He concertizes widely as a soloist and chamber musician in Europe, Japan, Korea, and the US. He has made numerous recordings, including the six flute duets of W. F. Bach, Haydn's "London" Trios, Couperin's Les nations with the Kuijken brothers, J. S. Bach's B-Minor Suite and The Musical Offering with Jordi Savall, and Bach's flute sonatas with his brothers Jérôme (viola da gamba) and Pierre (harpsichord). For many years, Mr. Hantaï has been Barthold Kuijken's assistant professor at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels; he is now professor at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya in Barcelona and the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.

    French harpsichordistPierre Hantaïbegan to study his instrument of choice at age 12 with Arthur Haas and later continued his lessons with Gustav Leonhardt. In 1983, he scored his first major triumph by taking first prize at the International Bach-Handel Competition of Bruges; since then, he has collected an impressive number of honors and awards. In 1985, he founded the chamber group Le Concert Français with his brothers Marc andJérômeand violinist François Fernandez. At the same time, he became a regular member of La Petite Bande, a period instrument orchestra led by Sigiswald Kuijken. Mr. Hantaï has also worked extensively with conductors Philippe Herreweghe and his former teacher Gustav Leonhardt. On his own, his recordings of works by J. S. Bach have garnered him special praise from critics, in particular his two recordings of the Goldberg Variations, made in 1992 and 2002, respectively. Mr. Hantaï also specializes in 17th-century English keyboard music and the works of Domenico Scarlatti.

    Manfredo Kraemerstudied violin in Córdoba, Argentina. He came to Germany to pursue studies in 17th- and 18th-century music at theHochschule für Musik und Tanzin Cologne. In 1985, he was one of the founding members of Concerto Köln, and since 1986, he has played in Reinhard Goebel's Musica Antiqua Köln as a soloist and concertmaster. In 1991, Jordi Savall invited him to join Le Concert des Nations and Hespèrion XXI as a leader, a role he continues to perform to this day. Mr. Kraemer has led many well-known Baroque ensembles in numerous concerts and recordings under the direction of conductors William Christie, Marc Minkowski, Jos van Immerseel, Frans Brüggen, René Jacobs, Gabriel Garrido, and others. In 1996, he and violinist Pablo Valetti founded The Rare Fruits Council; immediately after its founding, the ensemble made a recording of Biber'sHarmonia artificiosa-ariosaand Sonatae tam aris quam aulis servientes,which gained recognition worldwide. In 2001, Mr. Kraemer founded La Barroca del Suquía, an Argentine Baroque orchestra for which he serves as concertmaster and conductor. He has taught at the conservatories in Hilversum and Caen, and since 2002, he has been a professor of Baroque violin at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya in Barcelona. 

    Bass viol playerPhilippe Pierlotwas born in Liège, Belgium. He directs the Ricercar Consort, which primarily performs 17th-century repertoire. He has had several contemporary pieces written for him, and he plays the baryton, an stringed instrument for which Haydn wrote more than 150 works. In 1998, he adapted Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria for viols and plucked instruments; this production was given at important European festivals, and later toured to New York, France, and Australia. Mr. Pierlot frequently directs major works that he restores or adapts: One example is Sémélé by Marin Marais, revived after three centuries, and for which he recomposed the missing instrumental parts. He has recorded Schütz's oratorios, Die Auferstehung and Die siebenWortte, 17th-century German works for viols, and viol music by Marais. Mr. Pierlot teaches in The Hague and Brussels. Along with Rainer Zipperling and François Fernandez, he created the Flora label for their own recordings.

    More Info


Lully's "Marche pour la Cérémonie Turque"
Le Concert Des Nations | Jordi Savall, Director
Alia Vox

At a Glance

As a young man, French composer François Couperin fell in love with the vivacious trio sonatas of Arcangelo Corelli and decided to try his hand at the newly popular Italianate style. Cognizant of “the harshness of French attitudes toward any kind of foreign innovation,” however, he took the precaution of bringing his first sonata out under the pseudonym Francesco Coperuni. In 1726, secure in his position as a pillar of the French musical establishment, he dusted off three of these youthful sonatas, combined them with newly composed music in the French manner, and published them under the aptly descriptive title, Les nations.

Tonight’s program by Le Concert des Nations—whose name evokes Couperin’s landmark collection—reflects a similar mélange of French and Italian tastes. Most of the composers represented were associated with the courts of Louis XIII and Louis XIV, whose love of music and dance, and lavish patronage transformed Paris into the musical capital of Europe. The selections range from courtly dances and virtuoso showpieces to intimate chamber music. The French may have been resistant to foreign influences, but that did not prevent them from recognizing the competing claims of their Italian contemporaries. As one Frenchman wrote in 1702, the beauties of Italian music are “improv’d to such degree of excellence, as not to be reach’d by the imagination, ’til master’d by the understanding; and when they are understood our imaginations can form nothing beyond ’em.”
Program Notes


Before Bach
Public support for Carnegie Hall Live is made possible, in part, by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.
This performance is part of Before Bach, and Baroque Unlimited.

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