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Full Operas - Released December 1, 2017 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet
Everyone thinks that they know Alceste by Lully, and yet this 1674 masterpiece has almost never been recorded in its entirety. Apart from the Malgoire version from 1975 with Bruce Brewer and Felicity Palmer, which is starting to become outdated, the real treat is a second versoin by the same Malgoire twenty years later with Jean-Philippe Lafont and Colette Alliot-Lugaz... And so we can only take our hats off to the new discographical opus from Christophe Rousset's Talens Lyriques, a lively and elegant reading which allows us to rediscover everything that was so innovative about this brilliant, effervescent Florentine, who would become a typical Versaillais, a courtesan and a wheeler-dealer. King Louis XIV - 36 years old, still with all his own teeth and a victorious war leader - could only feel flattered by the piece signed by Quinault: Alcide, who covets the beautiful Alceste (who has been promised to Admetus), is none other than Hercules himself - Louis XIV seeing himself in Hercules saving the beautiful Madame de Montespan from the clutches of her husband.  To be sure, in this opera, Admetus/Hercules magnanimously hands Alceste, whom he has saved from hell, to her husband, while the poor Mr Montespan would end his career and his life exiled in Gascony... Honour intact. The Sun King loved the work, to the point that he commanded that rehearsals be held at Versailles. According to Madame de Sévigné, "The King declared that if he found himself in Paris when it was performed, he would go to see it every night." That being said, if Alceste suited the tastes of the court, it didn't do so well in Paris, where Lully's enemies, jealous of the extravagant privileges that he had won (the exclusive right to "have sung any whole piece in France, wither in French verse or in other languages, without the written permission of said Sir Lully, on pain of a ten thousand livre fine, and confiscation of theatres, equipment, decorations, costumes..."), heaped plot upon plot, while the gallant Mercury sang his little couplet: Dieu !  Le bel opéra ! Rien de plus pitoyable ! Cerbère y vient japper d'un aboi lamentable !  Oh ! Quelle musique de chien ! Oh ! Quelle musique du diable ! [Lord!/Fine opera!/There's nothing so pitiable!/Cerberus is yapping, his howls lamentable!/What doggish music!/What devilish music!]. Posterity would decide otherwise, and Rousset proved it triumphantly. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released October 13, 2017 | L'Encelade

Hi-Res Booklet
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Chamber Music - Released September 28, 2017 | Les Indispensables de Diapason

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Violin Solos - Released September 8, 2017 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
Of course, since years Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin have been recorded over and over again, including by world’s best and most prestigious solists. But when violinist Christian Tetzlaff releases a brand new recording, we can only say: “Friends, countrymen, lend Qobuz your ears”. Concerts with Christian Tetzlaff often become an existential experience for interpreter and audience alike; old familiar works suddenly appear in an entirely new light, also – of course – within the frame of a new studio recording such as this one. Essential to Tetzlaff’s approach are the courage to take risks, technical brilliance, openness and alertness to life. Such an interpretation becomes a real challenge for the aficionado and guarantees a brilliant musical adventure.
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Classical - Released September 8, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet
Delphine Galou is renowned and admired for her musicality and her appealing timbre. She has taken part in many productions of Baroque music and recordings of operas (notably by Vivaldi), but this is her first recital. It is a programme of sacred music, motets, cantatas and excerpts from oratorios, which in the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were influenced by the increasingly fashionable genre of opera. From the famous ‘Agitata infido flatu’ from Vivaldi’s oratorio Juditha triumphans, here counterpointed by an aria from another setting of the story of Judith composed by Jommelli, to Stradella’s Lamentations and Porpora’s magnificent motet ‘In procella sine stella’, Delphine Galou covers a wide range of spiritual emotions. She is accompanied by the excellent Accademia Bizantina under its director and harpsichordist Ottavio Dantone. A concerto by Gregori and a sinfonia by Caldara complete this release, which includes several world premiere recordings. © Alpha Classics
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Chamber Music - Released September 1, 2017 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
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Chamber Music - Released July 7, 2017 | Delphian

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released July 7, 2017 | Accent

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released June 23, 2017 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
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Classical - Released June 2, 2017 | CPO

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Chamber Music - Released June 2, 2017 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
 Geminiani’s The Art of Playing on the Violin, op. 9 (published in English in 1751) give us a very precious glimpse of what was musical practice in the first half of the 18th century, then considerably in the grip of the Italian influence. The publication began with some 28 exercises, aimed at perfecting technical skills such as double stops, special bowing, arpeggios, chords, ornamentation, shakes, swelling and softening, staccato, scales galore etc., and finished with twelve “examples”, “twelve pieces in different styles for violin and cello with basso continuo for the harpsichord”. What he meant by different styles are dances (courante: no. IV, gavotte: no. VIII, gigue: no. XI), fugues in the style of Corelli’s sonatas (nos. I, II, VII; while nos. IX-XI could be considered a full-fledged sonata da chiesa) as well as slow pieces in the “pathetic” style. These last, full of affectation, are particularly evocative of opera arias. Violonist Gottfried von der Goltz plays these twelve examples using several ornamentation techniques as pinpointed by the composer himself in the exercises – according to the liner notes, this would even be a recording premiere, and quite astonishingly it seems this is really the case. The interpreter begins the recording with a free improvisation, like a kind of offhand praeludium, reminding us that Geminiani was known amongst his student as Il Furibondo. So as not to wary the listener, the recording makes use of various continuo combinations, what with harpsichord, theorbo or organ. Von der Goltz completes the album with two of the Twelve Sonatas op. 4 for violin and basso continuo, composed 1739, two pieces which stylistically make the link between the Italian style (Corelli, Vivaldi) and the French (Leclair, Boismortier), several years before the Quarrel of the Buffoons broke out – that moronic Parisian controversy concerning the relative merits of French and Italian music in general, opera in particular. © SM/Qobuz
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Secular Vocal Music - Released May 31, 2017 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice
The Carnival of Venice in 1729 was quite unlike any other. Over a period of two months, opera houses went into a frenzy of competition to show off the most famous singers of the day, including the legendary castrato Farinelli who made his astonishing Venetian debut. Several of the most fashionable composers rose to the occasion, writing ravishing music for spectacular productions which often pitted the singers against each other in breathtaking displays of virtuosity. The results were sensational; one tour de force followed another in an atmosphere of fevered excitement and the adoring public lapped it up. The carnival opened with a star-studded cast in Leonardo Leo’s tragedy Cantone in Utica from which the dazzling aria Soffre talor del vento and the more gentle Ombra adorata are taken. Farinelli triumphed in Nicolo Porpora’s opera Semiramide, the perfect vehicle for his extraordinary technique. By contrast Adelaide by Giuseppe Maria Orlandini, another premiere, contains show-stopping displays for Farinelli’s arch rival Faustina Bordoni. And Germiano Giacomelli’s elegant opera Gianguir contains the achingly beautiful aria Mi par sentir la bella. Most of these rediscovered works are recorded here for the first time. (c) Pentatone
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Chamber Music - Released May 26, 2017 | Ricercar

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Joseph Bodin de Boismortier didn't exactly begin his career as a musician: in 1713 he was a receiver for the Royal Tobacco Office for soldiers in Roussillon. But, feeling drawn to music, he took a chance and sent a Parisian publisher several sheets of music. This proved to be a great success, which saw Boismortier leave Perpignan for Paris, where he would set up in 1723 as a composer and virtuoso. After that, he never ceased to produce and produce: to the extent that he was able to live from his music, without the need for aristocratic patronage. His first compositions, which were almost exclusively duets for transverse flute, show the deep attachment which he would always have to this instrument, which the French were said to play "with an unparalleled subtlety", according to a chronicler of their time. Averaging a rate of four collections a year from 1724 to 1747, he would eventually write 102 numbered works, within which he would combine, in all possible musical forms (solos, duets, trios, quartets, sonatas, suites and concertos), all the timbres which were then in vogue in the salons of the capital. Violins, flutes, cellos, violas de gamba, bassoons, oboes, accordions, hurdy gurdies, and harpsichords vied for his attentions, to the joy of enlightened music-lovers and their salons. It is clear that the years 1732 to 1736 marked the height of the artist's powers in relation to instrumental music (he would later turn to ballet, opera, cantata, motet, etc.). In this period a large number of collections were published, which included the trios recorded here, almost all inspired by the Italian Sonata da chiesa: slow-quick-slow-quick. The Petit Trianon, with Amandine Solano on violin, Olivier Riehl on flute, Cyril Poulet on cello, Xavier Marquis on bassoon and Paolo Corsi on harpsichord has interpreted these devilishly charming works, with an infectious cheer. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released May 26, 2017 | Accent

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The six sonatas by Jan Dismas Zelenka ZWV 181 are among the most noteworthy pieces of chamber music of their day and are some the most difficult works in the Baroque oboe and bassoon repertoire, while also being key works of Zelenka’s musical legacy. Nowadays, Zelenka, a Czech composer who spent most of his life in Dresden, no longer needs much introduction because he finally has a firmly established place among the greatest composers of the first half of the eighteenth century. That, however, has not always been the case. His nearly forgotten music did not attract wider attention until the latter half of the twentieth century, and it was these sonatas that played an important role in this. In Zelenka’s day, collections of trio sonatas were a traditional form of presentation of a certain maturity of compositional artistry, and as a matter of fact the composer was here entering the fourth decade of his life – recent musicological research has placed their composition around the years 1721 and 1722. His sonatas likewise are not early works dependent on models. Five of the six sonatas have a four-movement layout and other external features of a sonata da chiesa in the Corelli manner, but the Fifth Sonata has a three-movement structure, quick movements in ritornello form, and other features directly alluding to Antonio Vivaldi’s chamber concertos or to the special sonata of the “auf Concertenart” type. In the application of four- part writing “con due bassi obligati”, manifesting itself in the more or less independent bassoon part or in the abundant use of counterpoint, the sonatas are exceptionally long, so they make great demands on the technical skill and endurance of the players. Zelenka’s writing, however, takes the chosen instruments into consideration by employing suitable keys, keeping in mind the need for places to breathe, etc. Another striking feature is the enormous intensity of expression. Although the composer makes plentiful use of sophisticated contrapuntal techniques and forms for the construction of broadly striding themes and for the combination of the individual voices, this “learnedness” is never at the expense of musical spontaneity. The Czech early music ensemble Collegium 1704, founded 1991 by harpsichordist and horn player Václav Luks (was formerly horn soloist of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, an excellent school for historically informed performance) plays on period instruments, as may be expected. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released May 19, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
What was the context in which so great a masterpiece such as Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo could be born back in 1607, invested with such beauty, endowed with such profundity of expression and so perfect a structure, at a time when the operatic form was still in its infancy? These are precisely the questions that lie at the origin of this recording project, giving Pichon and his musicians the opportunity to discover the astonishing musico-dramatic productions that preceded L’Orfeo, notably those performed at the Medici court in Florence, in which one may discern the seeds of numerous elements to be found in L’Orfeo. At the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, it was ovbviously the city of the Medici that was the main focus of one of the most fascinating moments in the history of music: the birth of opera. Concentrating on the years from 1589 to 1611, i.e. the premiere of the intermedi for theatre piece called La pellegrina at one end and the performance in Florence of Marco da Gagliano’s Dafne at the other, Pichon has devised four imaginary “interludes” – inspired by the form of the intermedio so popular at this period – in which he assembled some of the finest examples of the first stirrings of opera, the music pieces of which are signed Lorenzo Allegri, Antonio Brunelli, Giovanni Battista Buonamente, Giulio Caccini, Emilio de’ Cavalieri, Girolamo Fantini, Marco da Gagliano, Cristofano Malvezzi, Luca Marenzio, Alessandro Orologio, Jacopo Peri and Alessandro Striggio. In imitation of the ancient theatre, intermedi were entertainments inserted between the acts of plays, with sumptuous visual effects, which provided a pretext for allegories to the glory of the reigning dynasty. The place of music and the fantastic element in theatrical performances acquired an ever grander and more spectacular character, thanks notably to the genius of set designers and the progress made in the domain of stage machinery. Seeing the artistic and political potential of the genre, the powerful princely families of the northern half of Italy (Gonzagas, Este and Medici, as well as the papal court), encouraged its development. Intermedi ended up occupying so important a place that they became a show within the show, with the aim of dazzling the audience. It was in 1589 that the Florentine tradition of intermedi attained its zenith, with the six sumptuous entertainments devised by Count Bardi to accompany the comedy La pellegrina, performed on the occasion of the wedding of Grand Duke Ferdinando I and Princess Christina of Lorraine, grand-daughter of Catarina de’ Medici. In their variety and novelty, with a balanced combination of polyphony and the nascent monody, not forgetting instrumental and dance music, the intermedi of 1589 opened the way for an integrally sung form of theatre. And indeed it was once again Florence that witnessed the first examples of the Gesamtkunstwerk, the perfect model of the alliance between poetry and music. At the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, a veritable laboratory was set up in Florence, prompting poets and composers to bring together several forms of musical expression in a single place? Building on the models established by earlier generations, composers continued their experiments with sound-space and the spatialisation of music, what with the proliferation of echo effects in the early monodies, or madrigals featuring dialogues between as many as seven independent choirs. But how can one tell this story nowadays, revive this rich adventure? The solution chosen for this recording was to create from scratch a large-scale imaginary work, resembling an initiatory journey, that would weld these multiple works into a single whole.