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Classical - Released October 16, 2013 | Les Arts Florissants - Editions

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio
For the inauguration of their own label, William Christie and his period ensemble Les Arts Florissants give George Frideric Handel's 1744 oratorio Belshazzar a brilliant performance in meticulous Baroque style, yet sacrifice none of the work's excitement. The story from the Book of Daniel of the defeat of Belshazzar by Cyrus the Great and the end of the Jewish captivity in Babylon is presented in Handel's characteristic heroic manner. Like the composer's masterpiece Messiah, which preceded it by three years, Belshazzar offers dramatic recitatives, moving arias, and vigorous choruses that are almost as thrilling and satisfying, but for the work's comparative unfamiliarity. Christie's aim is to make the public better acquainted with Baroque masterpieces, and this initial offering is an impressive beginning for the edition. Featuring Rosemary Joshua as Nitocris, countertenor Iestyn Davies as Daniel, and Allan Clayton as Belshazzar, the performance boasts some of the finest Handel vocalists around, and the choir is marvelously agile and clear in its diction, so the singing is superb. Add to this the authentic instrumentation and masterful playing of the group, and Christie's imaginative conducting, which never fails to surprise, and this may be the most stimulating and convincing version of Belshazzar available.
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 1, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released April 1, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
With this anthology of airs sérieux and airs à boire of the Grand Siècle, Les Arts Florissants launches a new series on harmonia mundi. We may listen to the tracks on this disc as contemporaries turned the pages of successful collections of songs alternating between invocations to Bacchus and invitations to love. Around William Christie at the harpsichord and his musicians, five singers offer multiple combinations of close-knit voices. From the intimacy of the salons to the liveliness of court banquets, these airs, models of refined skill, make light of the paradoxes of our hearts – for as an air by Lambert tells us: ‘Though Love creates all my grief, / I wish to love and to die loving.’ (Editor's Note)  
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Sacred Oratorios - Released April 1, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica
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Cantatas (secular) - Released April 1, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica
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Sacred Oratorios - Released April 1, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
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Full Operas - Released April 1, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released December 1, 2014 | Les Arts Florissants - Editions

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released April 1, 2014 | Les Arts Florissants - Editions

Hi-Res Booklets Distinctions Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - Hi-Res Audio
This ebullient release makes an ideal introduction to the French music of the middle 18th century, which is very easy to kill off with stodgy performances. The title Le Jardin de Monsieur Rameau has several connotations. It refers to the musical surroundings of the preeminent composer of the day, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and to Le Jardin des Voix, an ensemble of young singers connected with the French Baroque specialist ensemble Les Arts Florissants and its American-French director, William Christie. Yet again the title alludes to a garden where the present program was performed live, and which is the subject of a booklet-length prose piece, included, by French fiction writer Adrien Goetz. The live performance was partially staged, but it transfers quite well to the recorded medium, with its various sound effects intact and the enthusiasm of the young singers admirably putting the music across. Devotees of this music will be interested to hear the new generations of performers coming down the pike. Those with some familiarity will enjoy the presence of some little-known music by the likes of Antoine Dauvergne and Nicolas Racot de Grandval along with Rameau and Gluck. And nearly all listeners will enjoy the coherent scenes that allow the development of the characters, who are in several memorable cases comic ones. Hear Grandval's satirical portrayal of an overambitious performer (track 6). The live sound is unusually good, and the whole production testifies to the continuing creativity of one of the legendary Baroque historical-performance groups. Highly recommended.
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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released April 17, 2012 | Erato Disques - WMI

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Chamber Music - Released March 6, 2012 | harmonia mundi

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released October 28, 1997 | Warner Classics International

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Opera - Released October 17, 2012 | Warner Classics International

Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
It is tempting to say William Christie and Les Arts Florissants perform Rameau's opera Zoroastre the exact way the composer imagined it. Indeed, there are many riches in this performance: impeccable singing, a magnificent chorus, and an orchestra that perfectly captures the opulent beauties and complexities of French Baroque. A late work, Zoroastre may lack the consistent brilliance of Rameau's masterpiece Castor et Pollux, but this composition's daring formal conception, which presages the fluidity of late nineteenth century opera, richly compensates any perceived absence of structural balance. The story, centering on Zoroastre's struggle to save his beloved Amelite from the evil Abramanr, contains Masonic references. Was Rameau a Mason? Scholars cannot answer that question. True, Zoroastre is about the struggle between good and evil symbolized, respectively, by light and darkness, but what fascinates the listener is not the Masonic story, but Rameau's unique ability to represent archetypal dichotomies in purely musical terms by relying on musical symbolism. Thus, in Act IV, Rameau's musical representation of sinister forces directly appeals to the listener's intuition. Indeed, the sheer variety of dark tones, along with astonishing outbursts of sheer dramatic power, bespeak Rameau's expressive genius, which reveals the unfathomable essence of evil in ways that language cannot emulate. Rameau's descriptions of elevated spiritual states, symbolized by light, are even more astonishing as demonstrated by "O lumiere vive et pure," sung by Zoroastre and the chorus in Act III. Here, as well as in the "Tout se ranime," Zorastre's duet with Amelite, the musicians reach the pinnacle of their art: with faultless phrasing, breathtaking expressive intensity, and impeccable dramatic presence, the vocal soloists capture the essence of Rameau's music. The superb orchestra plays with the compellingly primal immediacy of a living voice.
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released September 22, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
The six young singers of the Academy of Le Jardin des Voix, selected from several hundred candidates, offer us a musical journey through some of the finest pieces in the Italian repertory, from a Banchieri madrigal to Haydn’s Orlando paladino. Thanks to an outstanding training programme and the musical values transmitted by William Christie and Paul Agnew, here is a chance to discover both some splendid vocal gems and a group of new performers who honour them with talent, grace and humour. Sheer delight! © harmonia mundi
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Opera - Released April 1, 2016 | harmonia mundi

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica