Laborie Records

You wanna know why downloads suck? Well, there are a number of reasons – inferior sonic quality, un-resalability, no booklets – but here’s another one. So you had this small French CD label, Laborie, especially devoted to the rediscovery of the “small masters” (Félicien David, Alexandre Boëly, Johann Benjamin/Jean-Baptiste Gross…), which was financed by a cultural center called Laborie Foundation and housed in a castle in the Limousin region of France, somewhere near the country’s bull’s eye (they also had a recording studio), and where cellist and conductor Christophe Coin, his Quatuor Mosaïques and his Ensemble Baroque de Limoges were in residence. In fact, according to information provided in the liner notes of some of the early Laborie CDs, the castle was acquired by the Ensemble Baroque de Limoges itself, in 1996, and it became a cultural center in 2003. This certainly doesn’t give the complete pictures, because period-instrument ensembles don’t acquire castles – maybe Bill Christie is now personally wealthy enough to buy a castle, but certainly not his Arts Florissants Ensemble. And indeed, further internet research shows that it was a variety of local institutions, public and private including a club of entrepreneurs, sponsors of the Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, that acquired the castle. But never trust your sponsors: Coin eventually fell out with the management of the foundation and was fired in 2013, leading to the Ensemble’s demise. Anyway, Laborie published very few CDs of classical music (they also had a jazz collection), hardly more than a dozen. And when you bought those Laborie CDs, they came with a short booklet in French and English, with track listing, a very short presentation of the music and a couple of photos, but you found a short line on the back cover that said that the “complete” booklets were available on their website. And, sure, I can understand the economic rationale for it: those complete booklets were lavish, containing erudite musicological essays, replete with information and great iconography, in French, English and German. How much would that cost to print and how thick would they be… So, fine for download. BUT…. only as long as Fondation Laborie existed. Obviously the divorce with Coin and Ensemble Baroque de Limoges didn’t help them, because the Foundation was liquidated in 2015. Apparently the castle was acquired by a chain of luxury hotels…. So, now, type in the weblink they give on the back cover… and it takes you to one of those hateful “404” pages, screaming at you “page doesn’t exist anymore, sucker!” So where are the damn booklets now? And it’s not as if those composers, Félicien David, Jean-Sébastien Gross and even Alexandre Boëly, were your household composers and that you could easily do without the lavish information provided in the books.

But wait! There’s a speck of good news in the pile of bad news: those Laborie booklets still retain a ghostly presence in the Internet limbo, and by some Google-processed miracle and a little bit of riddle-guessing I’ve been able to find them. So download them quick while they last – ghosts tend to fade away into the nether after a while. At the time of writing this link will take you to a directory, with the links of the available booklets, many of them also in English and German (and I’ve also found a few that are not listed in the directory). I’ve downloaded all of them, even those of the CDs I don’t have, because hopefully it’s only “don’t have YET”. Better hoard.

laborie-casing

There was another point of originality about those few Laborie CDs: they came not with your customary jewel case but with cardboard casings and had a very original, cardboard origami-like unfolding system for maintaining the CD in its casing – turns out to be a “packaging concept” by a Swedish company called Jakebox.

So here’s the complete discography of Laborie’s classical music releases. Apparently, there was a change of distributor after LC04 (barcode changes) and that’s also when they adopted the policy of offering their complete booklets online only, because those booklets are found only only starting with LC05 (as well as the new “packaging concept”).  I’ve provided those “ghost” links to the booklets, but for more safety, since these things go more than they come, I’ve also uploaded them here.

LC01 Michel-Richard De Lalande: “Les Folies de Cardenio”. Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, dir. Christophe Coin, barcode 822186023013 (2004)

LC02 Sébastien de Brossard: Grands Motets. Soloists, Choeur de chambre Accentus, Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Christophe Coin, barcode 822186023020 (2006, reissue of a recording originally published in 1997 on Audivis Astrée, E 8607, 3298490086070)

LC03 Haydn: “Delirium”, concerto, nocturne per lire organizzate, divertimenti per baryton. Mathias Loibner, Thierry Nouat, Christophe Coin, Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Quatuor Mosaiques, barcode 822186023037 (2006)

LC04 Bach: “Reflexio”, Sonatas for flute. Maria Tecla Andreotti (flute), Willem Hansen (harpsichord), Sergio Azzolini (bassoon), Christophe Coin (gamba), barcode 822186023044 (2006)

LC05 Boëly: Musique de Chambre. Quatuor Mosaïques, Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Christope Coin, barcode 0810473010006 (2008)
booklet in French, also here

LC06 Schubert: “Der Tod und Das Mädchen” (String Quartets in G-minor D. 173 & No. 14 D. 810). Quatuor Mosaïques, barcode 0810473010013 (2009)
booklet in French, also here

LC07 “La Lira di Napoli”, works for lire organizzate (vielles organisées) of Haydn, Pleyel, Orgitano, Mozart. Mathias Loibner, Thierry Nouat, Tobie Miller, Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Christophe Coin, barcode 0810473010020 (2012)
booklet in French, also here
booklet in French (other source, just in case)

LC08 “Entre Ciel et Terre”: Albrechtsberger (various works including Concerto for trombula e.g. jew’s harp). Albin Paulus, Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, Christophe Coin, Quatuor Mosaïques, barcode 0810473010037 (2011)
booklet in Frenchalso here
booklet in English, also here
booklet in German, also here

LC09 “Bal(l)ade romantique”: chamber works and songs of Jean-Baptiste (Johann-Benjamin) Gross. Christophe Coin, Yoko Kaneko (piano), Michael Dahmen (baritone), Quatuor Mosaiques, barcode 0810473010044 (2010)
booklet in French, also here
booklet in English, also here
booklet in German, also here

LC11 Félicien David: “Les Quatre Saisons”. Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, barcode 0810473010075 (2011)
booklet in French, also here

LC12 Félicien David: “Le Souvenir” (Trio No. 1, 3rd Quartet, various pieces and arrangements for solo piano and cello and piano). Jean-Jacques Dünki, Andrés Gabetta, Christophe Coin, Quatuor Mosaïques, barcode 0810473010068 (2012)
booklet in French, also here
booklet in English, also here

LA01 “Russie XIXe-XXe siècles”, works of Evgeni Galperine (“Par cœur”), Tchaikovsky (Serenade for strings op. 48), Shostakovich (Chamber Symphony op. 118a). Sergei Nakariakov (trumpet), Orchestre de Chambre Nouvelle Europe, Nicolas Krauze, barcode 0810473010099 (2012)

 

Comments are welcome:

Comments are welcome