A midprice reissue collecting this young French pianist s three baroque recordings. I fell in love with Tharaud s Rameau disc several years ago and never once missed the rattling sound of the harpsichord. Tharaud points out that Rameau s frequent ornamentation would have served to prolong notes on a harpsichord. This isn t necessary on a modern piano, and there s an incredible delicacy to the pianism here, with the trills and turns played with a barely credible lightness of touch. It s infectious stuff, with the witty character pieces from the Suite in G vivid and alive.
This beautiful recording, once long out-of-print, is now remastered in high definition multi-channel hybrid SACD, and is the first album made by Jordi Savall for the Astrée label, now reissued on Alia Vox. With this rare 1975 disc, Savall confirmed François Couperin as a master composer for viola da gamba with affinities to the previous masters of French music. On the recording Mr. Savall plays an authentic 7-string bass viol, anonymously constructed in 17th century France. He is joined by musicians Ton Koopman playing a Gilbert des Ruisseaux harpsichord built in the late 17th century and Ariane Maurette playing a Barak Norman bass viol constructed in London in 1697. Couperin’s music for these colorful instruments is marvelous, contemplative and beguiling. The highly collectible album, a must-have of the Savall oeuvre, is now available again and features a very informative booklet.
Rameau was almost 50 when he wrote Hippolyte et Aricie and there was little in his life to suggest he was about to embark on a major new career as an opera composer. He was famous for his works on music theory as well as books of harpsichord pieces. The closest he had come to writing dramatic music was composing a few secular cantatas and some popular pieces for the Paris fairs for his friend Alexis Piron. Yet Rameau's eagerness to write an opera is shown by a letter he wrote in October 1727 to Antoine Houdar de La Motte asking for a libretto. It was a strange choice; once famous for providing the texts to such works as André Campra's L'Europe galante (1697) and Marin Marais's Alcyone (1706), Houdar de La Motte had written nothing for the musical stage for almost 20 years. Nothing came of the request and there is no record of any reply, but the fact that Rameau carefully preserved his own letter among his personal papers proves how much the project must have meant to him.
It is only recently that the cantata Ariane consolated by Bacchus was attributed to Couperin, on the strength of many technical details too complex to be unrolled, but perfectly convincing. It is therefore a kind of first world discography of a work of this great composer that Christophe Rousset gives us, with the superb voice of Stéphane Degout whose impeccable speech allows to understand absolutely every word. There follow two immense apotheoses of the same, that of Corelli dated 1724 and that of Lully of the following year. These are very ample instrumental suites in the style of, with quotations, allusions, jokes of all kinds, in a quasi-theatrical and very descriptive writing approaching a kind of programmed music.
This programme completes the Comédie et Tragédie project with Tempesta di Mare, and consists of suites made up of orchestral excerpts from three dramatic works of the French stage, spanning seventy-three years, all highlighting the importance of dance as a part of drama.
Ce Concert chez la Reine, par les Ombres un jeune ensemble de musique baroque de la nouvelle génération, en résidence à Ambronay, est saisissant de réalisme dans la reconstitution historique authentique. Dès les premières secondes, j'ai eu l'impression d'être dans une salle éclairée par des bougies, entourée de dames en costumes et de marquis emperruqués Louis XV.
The exciting and vigorous talents of Sébastien d Hérin and Les Nouveaux Caractères announce their debut on Glossa with a major and appropriately unexpected release of a glaring Rameau operatic omission on record: 'Les Surprises de l Amour' (Cupid s Surprises). This opéra-ballet, consisting here of three separate entrées, first performed in 1748 and submitted to later revisions, comes from the period of Jean-Philippe Rameau s rich maturity when he had finally become a court composer.