I have a thing for the French ladies...
April 10, 2010 10:12 AM   Subscribe

One of my favorite classical pieces is Couperin's 'Leçons de Ténèbres', as featured here. It's basically a French female duet from the late baroque period. Any suggestions on more pieces in this vein, ideally from roughly the same time period?
posted by markkraft to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Barbra Streisand is American but she sings beautifully in French on her Classical cd.
posted by ceri richard at 10:20 AM on April 10, 2010

Your link leads to an extract of Tous les matins du monde, which focuses on the life of Monsieur de Sainte Colombe. Don't you like his pieces ? John Dowland wrote nice teares too.
posted by nicolin at 11:22 AM on April 10, 2010

Response by poster: Yes, I know the movie. I have the movie. It's a great one. And yes, I like Sainte Colombe.

...but note that he doesn't do female duets?

I like the John Dowland, but it's comparatively easy to find solo vocal pieces in that general realm.

I *know* that there's got to be some sort of tradition of (ideally) classical French female vocal duets -- or larger -- that fit in there somewhere between Couperin in 1710 or so, and Delibes' "Flower Duet" in the 1880s.
posted by markkraft at 11:34 AM on April 10, 2010

Did you check out other pieces by Couperin ? I really like his motets. They're not duets, but they kind of get me in the same mood.
posted by agregoire at 12:08 PM on April 10, 2010

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (sister of the other Mendelssohn) wrote a number of nice duets for alto and soprano (and various combinations thereof). The tessitura tends to be lower than, say, the famous Lakmé flower duet. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to listen to them, I stumbled across a collection in the music library, but when I played through them they seemed lovely. Others have spoken highly of them too.

Now you've made me want to find a recording. I just did a quick search on Amazon but didn't see anything immediately - didn't look very hard, though.
posted by amtho at 12:12 PM on April 10, 2010

Neither Mendelssohn nor Dowland was a Baroque composer. Couperin was, of course. If you're looking for similar music from the same period, I suggest having a look at the vocal works of Bach and Haendel. One set of music of Bach's to look at is "Tilge, Hoechster, meine Suenden". It is a wonderful set of motets. I have used "oe" and "ue" to denote their respective German umlaut vowels.
posted by jpcooper at 12:41 PM on April 10, 2010

By the way, the work is otherwise known as BWV 1083.
posted by jpcooper at 12:42 PM on April 10, 2010

Best answer: Bach's Aria Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben
Monteverdi's Vesper Pulchra es (or sung by French boys, just in case citizenship matters more than gender in your question)
Buxtehude's "O vis amoris tui, Jesu, maxima!" in the cantata "Salve, Jesu, patris gnate unigenite"
A lot of stuff by Marc-Antoine Charpentier would also fall in this category, but most of it has never been recorded.
posted by spaghettification at 1:00 PM on April 10, 2010

Have you heard the soundtrack from the film you refer to? You didn't mention. It's especially good.

I don't know much about Baroque-period French female duets, but you might also want to have a look at the album via iTunes (to listen to excerpts) and see where it leads you. Arianna Savall might be a good place to start. Hope you find what you're looking for.
posted by MelanieL at 1:18 PM on April 10, 2010

Best answer: PS: I know Bach's Aria doesn't seem to be a duet at first, but the two oboes are actually quite awesome, never mind female voices.

I mentioned Charpentier. He wrote about 136 works for two sopranos. All that's left for you to do is find recordings of all of them, pick the best ones, and report back to us. Since you liked the Couperin, you could start with Charpentier's Tenebrae lessons. 8 of them are written for two sopranos:
Leçon de ténèbres (‘De lamentatione Jeremiae’)
Autre leçon de ténèbres (‘JOD. Manum suam’)
Autre leçon de ténèbres (‘ALEPH. Ego vir videns’)
Autre Jerusalem pour les leçons de ténèbres à 2 voix
‘Incipit oratio Jeremiae’
3ème leçon du mercredi (‘JOD. Manum suam’)
3ème leçon du jeudi (‘ALEPH. Ego vir videns’)
3ème leçon du vendredi (‘Incipit oratio Jeremiae’)

This could start you (duet starts at 2:40).
posted by spaghettification at 2:12 PM on April 10, 2010

« Older Most Skilled band?   |   Wordpress website suitable for a law firm? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.