Brianna Neal | USA | 11/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ever more daring in their performance techniques and choices of music, the Palladian Ensemble has come up with an outrageously unique release. In these arrangements of Nicolas Chedeville's work, the familiar strains of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" have been remixed, as it were, to appeal to French audiences in the midst of a neo-rustic craze. "Nicolas Chedeville," according to the program notes, "was high priest of an improbable bagpipe and hurdy-gurdy cult to which much of French high society surrendered in the early 18th century. The aristocrats wandered through their country parks dressed in `peasant' clothes, picnicked on country fare...and rural music was a favourite accompaniment, played on instruments with an appropriately rustic pedigree but exquisitely craftsman-made, much `improved', sounding as civilised as they possibly could in court-professional hands." Chedeville himself was a master of the musette, a small, refined version of the bagpipe. On this recording, guest artists Jean-Pierre Rasle (musette), Nigel Eaton (hurdy-gurdy) and Richard Egarr (harpsichord and organ) help the Palladian Ensemble bring Chedeville's vision to life. The resulting CD is festive, playful and unexpected--the perfect thing to put on when nothing in a given day has gone the way you meant it to, and you just have to give up, laugh at yourself and the world, and go with it. For more fun-filled celebrations of the work of Vivaldi, I recommend "Priest on the Run" by the ensemble Red Priest, and for rustic and reedy music of an earlier period, try the recordings of Piffaro, the Renaissance Band."