The first volume of Tempesta di Mare's series on Chandos, Comédie et Tragédie, offers period-style performances of orchestral music by Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Féry Rebel, and Marin Marais. The orchestral suites drawn from Lully's music for Le bourgeois gentilhomme, Rebel's symphonie nouvelle Les élémens, and Marais' suite from the tragédie en musique Alcyone give a taste of theater music in the court of Louis XIV and Louis XV, and these pieces show how inventive composers were with instrumentation and their combinations of dances with dramatic scene painting. Tempesta di Mare, which is also known as the Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra, gives bright and energetic performances, and the musicians have a fine sense of the swung rhythms, distinctive tone colors, and lively ornamentation in French Baroque music. The recording is clear and well-balanced, though the percussion in Lully's March for the Turkish Ceremony (track 4) is a bit startling, and the dissonant opening of Rebel's Le Chaos (track 13) has its own shock value. Highly recommended.
In January 2007 Tempesta di Mare premiered in modern times four large-scale orchestral works by Johann Friedrich Fasch, a contemporary of Bach and Telemann. Richard Stone of Tempesta di Mare describes the pieces as ‘fantastic, true discoveries… they have the breadth and complexity of J.S. Bach without the austerity, and have a much more evolved sense of orchestral colour that’s truly extraordinary’. The concert was titled The Fantastic Herr Fasch – A Genius Rediscovered, and presented a gigantic five-movement orchestral suite, two concerti for orchestra and an Andante. The works in this concert were recorded for this CD release, which means that all the energy and enthusiasm of the concert performance are here for all to appreciate.