Taking its inspiration from Les Nations, a work by François Couperin symbolising the coming together of musical tastes and heralding a “European artistic space” which, far from being a recent invention, bears all the hallmarks of the Age of Enlightenment, Le Concert des Nations (= LCDN), the youngest of the ensembles directed by Jordi Savall, was founded in 1989. Created during the preparation of the Canticum Beatae Virgine by Charpentier, this group arose out of the need for an orchestra of period instruments that could play the orchestral and symphonic repertoire from the Baroque to the Romantic periods (1600-1850). Le Concert des Nations is the first orchestra of its kind made up chiefly (although not exclusively) of musicians from Latin countries (Spain, Latin America, Italy, Portugal, France, etc.), all of whom are outstanding specialists in performance using period instruments. The impact of the ensemble’s recordings and concerts given in the major cities and music festivals over the last fifteen years has established its reputation as one of the best original instrument orchestras performing today, with a broad and varied repertoire that ranges from the earliest music to be composed for orchestra (L’Orchestre de Louis XIII, 1600-1650) to the masterpieces of the Romantic period, including the key Baroque and Classical composers.
Le Concert des Nations’s desire to increase audiences’ familiarity with a wide historical repertoire of exceptional quality through rigorous and, at the same time, revitalising performances was apparent from their earliest recordings: Charpentier, J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, George Frideric Handel, Marais, Arriaga, L.v. Beethoven, Purcell and Dumanoir. The ensemble’s most recent productions include works by Lully, Biber, J.S. Bach and Antonio Vivaldi, released under Jordi Savall’s exclusive, award-winning record label, Alia Vox.
Le Concert des Nations made its opera debut in 1992 with Martín y Soler’s Una cosa rara, continuing with a production of Monteverdi’s Orfeo, which was staged in Barcelona in 1993, and subsequently in the Teatro Real in Madrid, in Beaune, Vienna and Metz, and in the re-opened Gran Teatre del Liceu, in Barcelona, in 2001. In 1995, the ensemble performed another opera by Martín y Soler, Il Burbero di Buon Cuore, staged in Montpellier, and in 2000 added to its opera repertoire Celos aun del Ayre matan, by Juan Hidalgo and Calderón de la Barca, performed in a concert version in Barcelona and Vienna. More recent productions include A. Vivaldi’s Farnace, staged at Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid (2001), also released as a CD, and Orfeo, recorded and released as a DVD by BBC/Opus Arte (2002).