Baroque violinist Florence Malgoire died of cancer on the night of August 10 to 11, at the age of 63, in Avignon, where she had settled. She was a radiant, warm, inspired musician, loved by her colleagues as much for her artistic as for her human qualities. She had the art, in her way of being and playing, secret and expansive at the same time, of embodying the fantasy in the most beautiful of the term.
Born March 9, 1960 in Dugny (Seine-Saint-Denis), she is the daughter of the great hauboïst Jean-Claude Malgoirewho died in 2018, who was the legendary solo English horn of the Orchester de Paris before becoming the pioneer, in France, of a historically informed practice of ancient instruments.
Florence must first make a name for herself, especially since she played, from the age of 17, in La Grande Ecurie and the Chambre du Roy, the orchestra founded and directed by her father. But the one who studied at Royal Conservatory of The Hague in the baroque violin cl of Sigiswald Kuijken, also plays very quickly in La Petite Bande, the orchestra of period instruments that the latter founded in 1972.
She then joined the orchestra of La Chapelle Royale, a vocal and instrumental ensemble founded by Philippe Herreweghe in 1977, and became its first solo violin. The Flemish conductor entrusts to him, during the recording of his first version (1984), for Harmonia Mundi, of the Pion according to Saint Matthewthe air violin solo Erbarme Dich. She is overwhelming, magnificently internalizing the painful rhetoric of the writing of Bach, her favorite composer.
She will also be the first violin of William Christie, at Les Arts florissants: we remember the sublime Complaint that her so expressive violin shared with the soprano Emmanuelle de Negri in The Fairy Queen, by Henry Purcell, conducted by the Franco-American conductor at the Opéra-Comique in January 2010. The following year, in the same venues, she would conduct the Orchester des Arts Florissants during the return of the mythical production ofAtysby Lully.
In the field of chamber music for violin and harpsichord, Florence Malgoire will work with the French Aline Zylberajch, Christophe Rousset (whom she had been seeing since 1979, at the time of their respective studies at the Conservatory of The Hague) then Blandine Rannou or, more recently, with the Iranian-American Mahan Esfahani, with whom she gave a recital in Prague earlier this year.
Florence Malgoire will develop an important career as a chamber musician by founding different ensembles. Les Nièces de Rameau – an amusing nod to Diderot –, a female group in which the violinist Alice Piérot and the violist Marianne Muller play, records for the Pierre Verany records of French music (Harpsichord pieces in concert de Rameau, in 1998) or English (a fine program of Trio sonatas in three and four parts by Henry Purcell, in 1995).
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