Albums

£9.49

Oratorios (secular) - Released February 16, 2018 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
£11.99
£7.99

Cantatas (secular) - Released January 26, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
The son of one of the Twenty-four Violins of the King, Nicolas Clérambault was born in Paris in 1676. He was a precocious child: he is credited with a large choral motet, composed when he was just thirteen years old. His education was provided by excellent masters and he was a close friend of Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers, whom he eventually replaced in 1714 at the tribune of Saint-Sulpice and the Maison Royale de Saint-Louis in Saint-Cyr. In addition to a book for harpsichord, and another for the organ, Clérambault composed numerous motets, but during his lifetime already, his French Cantatas were the works that solidified his reputation: five books featuring twenty cantatas in addition to five single cantatas. They highlight his evolution, from a craft similar to his masters of the 17th century to the pure, classical style that soon became his. Apollon, Cantatte sur la paix, à voix seule, et simphonie écrite pour le Roy (Apollo, Cantata for Peace, single voice, and Symphony written for the King) dates back to the very end of Louis XIV’s rule, which was marked by war and famine; in it, Clérambault glorifies the King, often portrayed as Apollo, while echoing the overall feeling among the population: peace! His 1710 cantata Le Jaloux (The Jealous) departs from the standard framework: no action, no lauding or flattery, simply a delicious tableau of jealousy! The album’s centrepiece remains 1713 Pyrame et Thisbé (Pyramus and Thisbe), derived from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Pyramus and Thisbe love each other, but their parents are opposed to their union. A beautiful instrumental prelude precedes the first recitative, which introduces and frames this tragedy. The melody closing the cantata is in a way the moral of the story. Between these two ends, Clérambault strings together recitatives, melodies, symphonies, as if in a lyric tragedy. The A Nocte Temporis ensemble – flute, violin, viola de gamba, harpsichord – accompany tenor Reinoud van Mechelen who performs these intense moments of great French classicism with perfect conviction and diction – crucial for this kind of textual works – while respecting the pronunciation specific to that era. For instance, “l’espoir de se revoir” turns into “l’espouêr de se revouêr”! The son of one of the Twenty-four Violins of the King, Nicolas Clérambault was born in Paris in 1676. He was a precocious child: he is credited with a large choral motet, composed when he was just thirteen years old. His education was provided by excellent masters and he was a close friend of Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers, whom he eventually replaced in 1714 at the tribune of Saint-Sulpice and the Maison Royale de Saint-Louis in Saint-Cyr. In addition to a book for harpsichord, and another for the organ, Clérambault composed numerous motets, but during his lifetime already, his French Cantatas were the works that solidified his reputation: five books featuring twenty cantatas in addition to five single cantatas. They highlight his evolution, from a craft similar to his masters of the 17th century to the pure, classical style that soon became his. Apollon, Cantatte sur la paix, à voix seule, et simphonie écrite pour le Roy (Apollo, Cantata for Peace, single voice, and Symphony written for the King) dates back to the very end of Louis XIV’s rule, which was marked by war and famine; in it, Clérambault glorifies the King, often portrayed as Apollo, while echoing the overall feeling among the population: peace! His 1710 cantata Le Jaloux (The Jealous) departs from the standard framework: no action, no lauding or flattery, simply a delicious tableau of jealousy! The album’s centrepiece remains 1713 Pyrame et Thisbé (Pyramus and Thisbe), derived from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Pyramus and Thisbe love each other, but their parents are opposed to their union. A beautiful instrumental prelude precedes the first recitative, which introduces and frames this tragedy. The melody closing the cantata is in a way the moral of the story. Between these two ends, Clérambault strings together recitatives, melodies, symphonies, as if in a lyric tragedy. The A Nocte Temporis ensemble – flute, violin, viola de gamba, harpsichord – accompany tenor Reinoud van Mechelen who performs these intense moments of great French classicism with perfect conviction and diction – crucial for this kind of textual works – while respecting the pronunciation specific to that era. For instance, “l’espoir de se revoir” turns into “l’espouêr de se revouêr”! © SM/Qobuz
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Secular Vocal Music - Released December 1, 2017 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason découverte
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£12.99

Secular Vocal Music - Released November 17, 2017 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet
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£11.99

Secular Vocal Music - Released November 10, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Le Choix de France Musique - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
This project originated, Sabine Devieilhe says, from her desire to tackle Lakmé. In fact, Delibes was able to compose for her heroine some of the most memorable pages for coloratura soprano, starting with the hugely famous "air des clochettes" [Bell Song]. And as Western ears at the time were eager for musical and poetic voyages, and sensations from far-off lands, we find these same Oriental fantasies with Maurice Delage, who himself went on a grand tour of India, where he found modal colours, but also in Madame Chrysanthème by Messager or Rossignol by Stravinsky, to say nothing of the Egypt of Thaïs as portrayed by Anatole France and Massenet. Sabine Devieilhe, who won the "Lyrical revelation" prize at Victoires de la musique classique in 2013 before winning "Lyrical artist of the year" at the same ceremony – certainly not an unfair judgement of this particular artist – started her recording career with recordings of Rameau, Bach and Mozart, before launching into the lyrical repertoire from more recent years… And with great success! © SM/Qobuz
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£8.49

Secular Vocal Music - Released November 10, 2017 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Around the Franco-Italian mezzo soprano Lea Desandre – who made her big début with William Christie in the Jardins des voix, then won the "Lyrical Revelation" prize in the Victoires de la musique in 2017 – the sopranos Nathalie Pérez and Chantal Santon-Jeffery have concocted a programme that takes in many different lyrical incarnations of Berenice of Egypt and her misadventures with the King, Antigono Gonatas, through the prism of Metastasio's Antigone, which has been set to music by well over thirty composers, some focusing more on Antigone, others on Berenice. We will hear little-known airs like those of Haydn, Mozart, Johann Christian Bach and Hasse: the principle virtue of this album is that it allows us to discover these rarities, which often call for virtuoso vocal talents, and so are perfect for the voices of the three singers presented here. A rarity among rarities, we will also find a stunning air from Marianna von Martinez who held a musical salon in Vienna which received visits from... Haydn and Mozart. © SM/Qobuz
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Secular Vocal Music - Released November 10, 2017 | SWR Classic

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Secular Vocal Music - Released November 3, 2017 | Carpe Diem

Hi-Res Booklet
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Secular Vocal Music - Released October 27, 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
This album is a selection of pieces from Arie antiche, a 19th Century collection of songs edited by Alessandro Parisotti to be a vocal primer. Though now more famous as the editor of Arie antiche, Parisotti was also a composer, and he managed to slip one of his own works into the book by attributing to Giovanni Pergolesi his song "Se tu m'ami". The collection was very much a part of the trend to rediscover old and forgotten works, and the popularity of the three-volume set has endured to this day. For this album the musicians of Orfeo 55 have worked painstakingly to source original scores and to edit the parts as necessary. While the instrumental works are not part of Parisotti’s primer, they provide brief musical interludes between the songs to enhance the overall listening experience and bring these works together into a coherent programme. © Warner Classics
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Secular Vocal Music - Released October 13, 2017 | SWR Classic

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Secular Vocal Music - Released October 6, 2017 | Signum Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The Gabrieli ensemble, under the direction of their remarkable leader Paul McCreesh, explore here the immensely rich British choral repertoire which is known as partsong, a sort of choral piece made up of a profane song written or arranged for several vocal parts. The theme can originate in folk music (real or imagined), or it can be even older - the term covers a vast range of formats. This is a long way from the rather soppy variety of vaguely pastoral pieces that are widely-spread, but less rich because more constrained in rhythmic, melodic and textual terms: many of the lyrics in this record are great poetry, and represent a corpus of 20th Century madrigals every bit as rich as their glorious Renaissance ancestors. Vaughan Williams and Elgar lead the way, followed by Charles Villiers Stanford, Herbert Howell and Percy Grainger (Australian by birth, but very British at heart), Britten et Warlock (nom de plume and nom de guerre of Philip Heseltine, a flamboyant and louche figure), and finally James McMillan and Jonathan Dive bring us up to the present day. For all its modern elements, the record doesn't neglect its heritage - the iconoclastic avant-garde is dead and buried - making this a real treat for aficionados, and when this excellent music is sung by the Gabrieli ensemble, our happiness is complete. © SM/Qobuz
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Secular Vocal Music - Released September 22, 2017 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - 4 étoiles de Classica
The theatres of London were vital centres for Restoration music after the return of the Stuart monarchy, following the fall of Cromwell's puritan dictatorship. Reinvigorated by the arrival of women actors and sumptuous decoration, they attracted a broad audience, which had been starved of entertainment after the years of religious rigour and the virtual ban on public performances. The most sought-after composer of the period was Locke, whose experience in this field went back into the Cromwell years. While Puritans did close theatres, some pieces had been able to overcome the ban, like the masque Cupid and Death set to music by Gibbons, which was played for the Portuguese ambassador in 1657 - then again in 1659, with additional music by Locke. When the theatres re-opened in 1660, there was a demand for music for every play, but more as an ornament than as an integral part of the plot. Each one required a series of airs and instrumental pieces to be played at the start and between each act. Locke wrote more than twenty airs of this type, although they can't be pinpointed to any specific plays. Most of his stage music, like Curtain Tune and Lilk, survive in various manuscripts from the period, and comprises stage music for plays performed in the final decade of the 17th Century. These are the inter-act pieces, airs or "curtain-raisers" which Bertrand Cuiller's Caravansérail ensemble plays here - Cuiller, remember, learned the harpsichord with Pierre Hantaï and Christophe Rousset. His last solo album, Rameau's complete works for harpsichord, was declared Classica's Shock of the Year 2015. The airs here are sung by Scottish soprano Rachel Redmond, a great performer of baroque music.
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Cantatas (secular) - Released September 1, 2017 | CapriccioNR

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
This is the three-part version of Mahler’s Das Klagende Lied that the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra brought us. It’s worth pointing out that the composer rearranged his piece many times. The original writing dates from 1880, when he was a proud twenty-year old; after a several refusals, he rewrote the partition in 1883 (considerably reducing the initial orchestral headcount which, admittedly, required titanic forces, and deleting the first act) then again in 1899, proof that he was holding it in some regard. It was only in 1901, when he was finally famous, that he managed to give this work in concert—but in the two-part version—, without much success, as it would seem. And yet, all of Mahler is already in this musical discourse and we shouldn’t be surprised to find many turns from this work in the symphonies and orchestral Lieder. The present recording offers a “hybrid” version, which is actually the most performed, that is to say: the first part Waldmärchen (Forest Legend) in the 1880 writing, then the two following parts Der Spielmann (The Minstrel) and Hochzeitsstück (Wedding Piece), in the 1899 rewriting. © Qobuz
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Secular Vocal Music - Released June 23, 2017 | Supraphon a.s.

Distinctions Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique
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Secular Vocal Music - Released June 9, 2017 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Diapason d'or / Arte