The Conversation

The Dialogue of the Spirit and the Senses

Brochures and technical specifications

Wishing to explore the connections between solitude and conviviality, monologue and conversation, solo and duo, we have brought together two dissimilar couples – two men and two women, two theorbos and two viols – to multiply the possibilities of exchange, encounter and dialogue between them in one sonorous voyage, unique in its genre, where our guides will be the masters, namely Sainte-Colombe, Hotman, Gautier and Dufaut. Nearly forgotten today, they were however the fathers of a progeny that, in passing by Lully and Rameau, led French music to Ravel and Debussy.

For a long time, music was considered a means to elevate the soul, by way of the senses, towards the highest spheres of the spirit. In France, before Louis XIV and Lully made of music the perfect instrument to serve in the entertainment of the Court, it attained the paroxysm of refinement and depth in the milieu of the précieuses, as was called the circle of intellectual women of the hôtelsparticuliers in the Marais area of Paris. Emanating from this circle, music nourished the beaux esprits of Europe, as witnessed by the dissemination of so many French music manuscripts between Rome and Moscow.

In the 17th century, music was called "the rhetoric of the Gods," so much did its strange language – a language without words, but nevertheless comprehensible to everyone – have a universal reach. During the Baroque epoch in France, musical discourse was certainly carried to its heights, a phenomenon particularly striking in the domain of instrumental music where words are banished... except in the titles: La Belle Homicide (a beautiful homicide), Le Dialogue des Grâces sur Iris (the dialogue of the Graces on the subject of Iris), Les Idées heureuses, (the happy ideas), L'Encyclopédie, La Conversation...

  • Music by Jean de Sainte-Colombe, Charles Hurel, François Dufaut, François Couperin, Demachy, Angelo-Michele Bartolotti, and Denis and Ennemond Gautier
  • Texts of André Souris, Titon du Tillet, Tallemant des Réaux, Giordano Bruno, Jean de la Fontaine and Pierre le Moyne
  • Christine Plubeau and Isabelle Saint-Yves: bass viols
  • Charles-Edouard Fantin: theorbo and Baroque guitar
  • Marco Horvat: theorbo and recitation

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Translations by Sally Gordon Mark

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