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Les Siècles

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Les Siècles is a historical performance ensemble that uses appropriate instruments to realize works of various eras, often employing instruments from the group's own collection. Unusually, Les Siècles apply historical performance principles to music as far forward in time as the early 20th century. Les Siècles ("The Centuries") was founded in 2003 by conductor François-Xavier Roth. The group succeeded quickly, partly by dispersing its performances among venues around France. It performs regularly at multiple Paris venues, including the Opéra Comique, Salle Pleyel, and Philharmonie de Paris, and in other cities around France as well as touring internationally. Les Siècles have appeared in Amsterdam (at the Concertgebouw), London (at the BBC Proms), and other European capitals as well as in Tokyo. The group also performs frequently in schools, hospitals, and prisons. Les Siècles gives performances of music from various eras, but they are notable for extending the realm of historically oriented performance into the repertory of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 2013, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the group participated in a 100th-anniversary re-creation of the original performance of Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps, using only instruments that would have been available in Paris in 1913; the performance was broadcast internationally. Les Siècles have amassed a catalog of some 20 recordings, beginning with an album devoted to Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 ("Organ Symphony") and Piano Concerto No. 4 in C minor, Op. 44. That and the group's other early recordings were made for the Actes Sud label. Les Siècles moved to the Harmonia Mundi label in 2017 for a recording of Ravel's complete Daphnis et Chloé ballet and has continued to record for that label. The year 2020 saw three new Les Siècles recordings, including one of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, with François-Joseph Gossec's rare Symphonie à dix-sept parties. Les Siècles returned in 2021 with a new recording of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55; both recordings were part of a Harmonia Mundi cycle of historically oriented Beethoven symphonies, featuring various ensembles.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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