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Les Grandes Eaux Musicales de Versailles
2017 Edition No texts ALPHA 969 [72:23]
Alpha’s packaging invitation to ‘prolong the pleasure of your visit to Versailles with this recording of the music you heard in the gardens’ suggests the site-specific and promotional nature of this compilation. But of course, you don’t have to have been there - and the invitation is couched in French, English, Spanish and Japanese – to sample, savour or otherwise enjoy the architecture of Le Nôtre, France’s Capability Brown, whose water features, sculptures and landscapes are so much a part of Versailles’ enduring appeal. The Collection Château de Versailles looks like a richly upholstered collection of CDs and DVDs and the gift shop at Louis XIV’s masterpiece is doubtless groaning with copies for tourists to purchase.
Fortunately, there are elite practitioners involved and the brief track details in the very compact booklet gives the bands and relevant performers involved, at least to the extent of the specific singers on the extracts involved. Don’t expect full track listings for each piece but you will be directed to the relevant Alpha catalogue number if you want to take matters further.
Perhaps appropriately the disc begins with Charpentier’s Prélude from the Te Deum, aka the Eurovision Anthem, and proceeds with two further movements in the performance directed by the excellent Vincent Dumestre – the acoustic might be echo-laden but the performance is zesty. Skip Sempé directs the Capriccio Stravagante Orchestra in very brief snippets from Lully’s Versailles but there’s an attractive Turkish March to compensate for the bitty nature of the compilation. One of the enjoyable features of this kind of disc is the chance to hear so many different period instrument bands. Les Nouveaux Caractères are more than capable under the direction of Sébastien D’Hérin in Leclair’s Scylla and Glaucus extracts where the two vocal soloists are both emotive and powerfully convincing.
The brassy and up-tempo charms of Campra’s Tancrède also mix one orchestral and one vocal track whilst a fine discovery is Rameau’s Dardanus, whose Chaconne is conspicuously well played by the ensemble Pygmalion under Raphaël Pichon. A better-known ensemble and conductor – Le Concert Spirituel and Hervé Niquet - are heard in four brief extracts from Lully’s Persée but sufficient can be heard to note their compelling musicality and sense of colour and vivacious rhythm. Henry Madin’s Te Deum is clearly worth more than a cursory listen but the disc ends with the fire and brimstone of Cherubini’s operatic Requiem which propels us forward in time and style.
This is an enjoyable sequence, then, which does its signposting job well. I wonder how well it works in the gardens at Versailles.
Contents Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704) Te Deum, H. 146: Prélude [1:25]: Te Aeternam Patrem [4:07]: Domine Speravi [2:14] Jean Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687) Versailles, l’Île enchantée: Marche pour la cérémonie des Turcs [1:15]: Reprise [1:23] Persée: Act I, Airs pour la dispute des prix de la lute et de l’arc [2:56]: Act II, Deuxième Air pour les Cyclopes [1:39]: Act II, Air pour l’entrée des nymphes guerrières [1:09]: Act II, Air pour l’entrée des Divinités infernales [0:54] Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace ROYER (1703-1755) Pyrrhus, Act IV Scene 1: Portons partout l’horreur [4:25] Jean-Marie LECLAIR (1697-1764) Scylla and Glaucus: Overture [5:30]: Act V Scenes 2 and 3 [8:14] André CAMPRA (1660-1744) Tancrède: Act IV Scene 1 – Prelude, Air de Tancrède [3:04]: Act V Scene 1 – Symphonie de trompettes and recitative and Air d’Herminie [4:01] Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Dardanus: Overture [4:15]: Act V Scene 3, Chaconne [5:51]: Act III Scene IV, Premier Tambourin, Deuxième Tambourin [2:30] Giovanni BASSANO (c.1558-c.1617) Concerti Ecclesiastici (1599): Omnes Gnetes Plaudite Manibus, A8 [2:54] Henry MADIN (1698-1748)
Te Deum, HM28: Te ergo quaesumus [2:45]: Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim [3:26] Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842)
Requiem, in memory of Louis XVI: Sequentia [8:19]
Le Poème Harmonique and Capella Cracoviensis/Vincent Dumestre (from Alpha 952)
Capriccio Stravagante Orchestra/Skip Sempé (from Alpha 961)
Les Enfants D’Apollon/Michael Greenberg (from Alpha 953)
Les Nouveaux Caractères/Sébastien D’Hérin with Emöke Barath (Scylla) and Anders Dahlin (Glaucus) (from Alpha 960)
Orchestre Les Temps Présents et Les Chantres du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles/Olivier Schneebeli with Benoit Arnould (Tancrède) and Chantal Santon (Hermine) (from Alpha 958)
Pygmalion/Raphaë l Pichon (from Alpha 951)
Le Concert Sprituel/Hervé Niquet (from Alpha 967)
Galilei Concort/Benjamin Chénier (from Alpha 965)
Stradivaria et Les Cris de Paris/Daniel Cuiller (from Alpha 963)
Le Concert Sprituel/Hervé Niquet (from Alpha 251)