Les voyages de Muffat – Les Curiosités

Muffat’s travels

by Les Curiosités

Monday July 26th, 9 pm – Valloire church

Following Georg Muffat’s wanderings across baroque Europe, Les Curiosités aims at presenting a photograph of the musical landscape this great traveller tirelessly explored. The music of this Savoyard by birth, inspired by the composers he met during his travels, expertly blends the various styles, in turn French, Italian and German, he came across while touring Europe.

From his studies with Lully to his position as organist in Salzburg where he was Biber’s fellow musician, without forgetting a stay in Italy where he worked with Pasquini and Corelli, Muffat witnessed the stylistic transformations then occurring in various European states. His compendium named Armonico Tributo (1682) is an example of a possible synthesis of the French and Italian styles, heralding François Couperin’s Les Goûts Réunis (1724). Set against Biber’s Balletti Lamentabili a 4 and Corelli’s Sonata, the two sonatas from Muffat’s Armonico Tributo illustrate the various influences that presided over his work.

Even though he never met Muffat, François Couperin, a major representative of the French music style, was similarly intent on reconciling the French and Italian styles, as in his sonate en quatuor La Sultane. Besides, with L’Apothéose de Corelli (1724) then L’Apothéose de Lully (1725), François Couperin paid due tribute to Georg Muffat’s two masters who each brilliantly illustrated one and the other style.

Les Curiosités

Founded in 2020 on violinist Paul Monteiro’s impulse, Les Curiosités is indeed a recent newcomer to the musical scene. Eager to apprehend and perform the 17th and 18th-century repertoires, all trained at the Paris and Lyon Conservatoires Nationaux Supérieurs de Musique et de Danse, these instrumentalists share in a mutual musical vision strengthened by personal affinities.

Drawing its name from these old-time cabinets of curiosities in which, according to Littré, “all kinds of rare, novel, singular objects were stored and exhibited”, the ensemble is intent on exploring the countless styles, colours and musical oddities from Baroque times. The musicians wish in particular to provide easier access to the violin and chamber music repertoires of this epoch. The ensemble also aims to bring to light forgotten composers by offering thematic programmes of unknown works.

Photo : Fred Canonge


Pieces by Muffat, Biber, Corelli and Couperin

Les Curiosités

Paul Monteiro, violin and direction

Izleh Henry, violin

Garance Boizot, bass and tenor viols

Noémie Lenhof, bass viol

Pierre Descamps, violoncello

Julie Pumir, harpsicord