Gérard Lesne founded the Il Seminario musicale Ensemble in 1985. Since 1990, the Ensemble has been in residence at the Royaumont Foundation, where it attracts vocalists and instrumentalists who share Lesne's enthusiam for the 17th and 18th century Italian repertoire. The musicians perform on old instruments and strive to reproduce as faithfully as possible the lilt and narrative line characteristic of the baroque style as expressed in works by composers such as Monteverdi, Cavalli, Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Caldara, Pergolesi, and the others. The size of the ensemble is variable depending on the repertoire. Based on a rich and varied continuo section (theorbo, cello, basson, double bass, organ and harpsichord) supporting one or more soloists, it can be expanded with the addition of a string quartet to make a small chamber orchestra suitable for performing chamber operas. Responsibility for the Ensemble's musical direction is shared by the instrumentalists and vocalists.
Howard Hanson is one of America's great mid-century composers. His music, like that of Roy Harris, draws its character from the plains, from the pioneer blood that settled that part of the country. Here we have two major symphonies, a piano concerto, and a tone-poem, "Mosaics". These works are at the heart of American Romanticism; his melodies are distinct and tonal, his writing formal.
Gerard Lesne has led a unique career: largely self-taught, he began as a jazz and rock singer who not only converted to more serious music, but became identified as one of the leading countertenors in the early music genre. He has sung with several early music ensembles, including the Clemencic Consort and with the group he founded, Il Seminario Musicale. The sound quality of Lesne's voice has been described as the male counterpart to the female contralto.
The edition for this premiere recording has been made by Karl Böhmer, who has provided an informative introductory essay, and Oliver Mattern. Gérard Lesne has made something of a speciality of Scarlatti’s music and his lively direction of Sedecia benefits from his fluent handling of dramatic and stylistic aspects of the work…A splendid achievement. (BBC Music Magazine)
Heres another superb disc of Baroque/galant-style flute sonatas to join the impressive library of such music on Brilliant Classics, most recently enlarged by a release of Johan Helmich Roman, a close contemporary of Boismortier (1689-1755). Whereas Roman worked in the then-distant royal court of Sweden, and had only one collection of music published during his lifetime, Boismortier was known across Europe as both a supreme virtuoso on the flute/recorder family, and a composer for the instrument of a facility and refinement rivalled only by Bach.