Albums

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Cantatas (secular) - Released November 23, 2018 | Erato

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Record of the Month - Choc de Classica
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Cantatas (secular) - Released January 26, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
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 August 10, 2018 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 étoiles de Classica
If Le Secret is the title of a melody that Gabriel Fauré composed on a rather vapid poem by Armand Silvestre, it doesn’t seem like it inspired the title of the present album called “The Secret Fauré”, and it is rather underlining the rare and intimate character of the works. Ivor Bolton, conducting the Sinfonieorchester Basel, of which he is the artistic director, offers a very subtle selection composed of extracts of stage music or music for the stage: Caligula, Pénélope, Shylock, Pelléas et Mélisande, mixed with a few melodies orchestrated by Fauré or more probably by his friends, such as Charles Koechlin. The Russian soprano Olga Peretyatko, the new international queen of bel canto, lends her voice to the very discreet art of Fauré. Forgotten are her numerous Traviata in Berlin, at the Met or in Vienna, in favor of a song of a reserved limpidity. Alongside her, tenor Benjamin Bruns and the Balthasar Neumann female choir complete this disc devoted to a certain French spirit seen from outside, made of a blend of insouciance, discreet elegance and some futility. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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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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Cantatas (secular) - Released November 2, 2018 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - 5 étoiles de Classica
Given that he wrote about 115 operas (of which at least 70 have survived to this day), 800 cantatas of all kinds, shedloads of symphonies and serenades, and dozens of the most varied kinds of liturgical works, Alessandro Scarlatti remains under-played today. The album concentrates on a few of these innumerable cantatas which are almost all preserved in their original manuscript form and quite a few of which belong to the Arcadian genre. This is to say that they deal with the bucolic mythology of nymphs and shepherds from Arcadia (in the Peloponnese in Greece) developed during the Renaissance. Love, betrayal and reunions are all displayed here, some in solo cantatas – soprano or baritone – and other cantatas in dialogue for two voices. Some have nothing but a continuo for an accompaniment, others have two violins with continuo. Everything seems to indicate that at the time of writing these pieces were meant to entertain nobles in their palaces, especially during the many periods of the year when the Church forbade public performances. Without a doubt these pieces were played once or twice and then forgotten... And here they are, rescued from oblivion by the soprano Deborah Cachet and the baritone Nicolas Achten, who, as well as singing, conducts his ensemble Scherzi Musicali and plays the theorbo, the triple harp and the organ. © SM/Qobuz
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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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Cantatas (secular) - Released November 1, 1993 | Chandos

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Secular Vocal Music - Released December 1, 2017 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason découverte
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Secular Vocal Music - Released April 7, 2017 | naïve classique

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Diapason d'or / Arte - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
2017 marks the 450th anniversary of Claudio Monteverdi, one of the fathers of modern music, who gave a major impulse to expressivity and individuality of expression. Rinaldo Alessandrini’s benchmark recordings of the madrigals, the Vespers, L'Orfeo etc., contributed to unani-mously establish the Roman conductor and his ensemble Concerto Italiano as the leading ambassadors of Monteverdi today. "Notte. Storie di Amanti e di Guerrieri" offers a selection of highlights from Monteverdi’s most famous madrigals and instrumental movements: Lamento della ninfa, Combat-timento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Ho’r che’l ciel e la terra, sinfonias from Monteverdi’s three operas etc. A heart-stretching pro-gram in which Rinaldo Alessandrini’s sci-ence of light, emotions and colors is at its highest.
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Secular Vocal Music - Released March 3, 2017 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 4 étoiles de Classica
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Secular Vocal Music - Released November 17, 2017 | Sony Classical

Hi-Res Booklet
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Secular Vocal Music - Released January 19, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
With Affetti amorosi Damien Guillon directs a dazzling selection of vocal works from Girolamo Frescobaldi, drawn from the Ferrara composer’s two books of Arie musicali. These arias date from 1615-1630, by which time Frescobaldi, now resident in Rome, had become a “cult” composer, and permitted great expressive freedom in the performance of his music. Purposefully offering a recording full of contrasts and singing of human and divine love, countertenor Guillon is admirably matched by the other vocal talents in Le Banquet Céleste: soprano Céline Scheen, tenor Thomas Hobbs and bass Benoît Arnould. This new Glossa recording includes two of Frescobaldi’s enduring and moving spiritual sonnets, Maddalena alla croce and Ohimè che fur as well as one of the nascent Baroque’s favoured vocal forms, the lettera amorosa, in Vanne, o carta amorosa. The singers are joined by lute, harp, cello and harpsichord from Guillon’s ensemble. In his wideranging and thought-provoking essay Pierre-Élie Mamou points out vivid characteristics of this early Baroque music – including “the play of opposites that greatly moves our souls” – notably the polarities between anxiety and pleasure, and time which passes and time which remains.© Glossa
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Secular Vocal Music - Released April 8, 2014 | Phi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Secular Vocal Music - Released May 25, 2018 | deutsche harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The main composers presented here are Johann Hermann Schein and Melchior Franck, the essential representatives of early German baroque. Schein and Franck were almost exact contemporaries of each other, and developed their respective careers not fifty leagues apart – Coburg for Franck, Leipzig for Schein, who was, remember, a predecessor of Bach's in the role of Cantor of Saint Thomas – but it seems they never met. It must be said that during the 30 Years' War, journeys were not undertaken lightly, and people were much more concerned with not getting gutted, infected with the plague, or killed by starvation than they were with taking day-trips from town to town. It's also startling that so many works have survived to the present day, including in particular the Hohelied Salomos from 1608 – the "Song of Solomon" by Franck, and Schein's collection of Musica boscareggia dating from 1621/28 and the Diletti pastorali of 1628, including several love motets, presented here by Jörg-Andreas Bötticher's instrumental and vocal ensemble Voces suaves. By way of historical reference point, we also here two pieces by Palestrina – after all, the German baroque was greatly influenced by the Italian madrigal – performed in their instrumental version as ornamented by two famous cornettists of the time, Luigi Zenobi and Antonio Bassiano, who have left us many examples of the art of musical variation and ornamentation as they practised it. © 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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Secular Vocal Music - Released September 16, 2015 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
he opening of Venice’s first opera house, the Teatro di San Cassiano, in1637, was one of the major events in the history of opera. The protagonists of these new operas henceforth represented all the social categories making up this public and who, in fact, had to be able to find themselves onstage. The gods were no longer the only ones to lay down the law, challenged by the Vices and Virtues who preached in the Prologues. The new heroes are kings, emperors, dictators, courtesans, as well as nurses, valets, soldiers, philosopher, and, above all, lovers. Whoever they might be, we find them sympathetic or antipathetic; all are glorified, all are ridiculed. With his 27 existing operas, Francesco Cavalli gives us a fascinating version of this theatre of life. A single main thread runs through the excerpts drawn from each of them by Leonardo García Alarcón: the expression of human passions. They are all there, from ingenuousness to ecstasy, joy to anger, passionate love (and its erotic, sensual expression) to despair. This fascinating programme represents a new contribution to the knowledge of Cavalli’s operas and allows for unveiling part of the mystery still surrounding his works. © Qobuz
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Oratorios (secular) - Released July 31, 2007 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Secular Vocal Music - Released September 9, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Award - 4 étoiles de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Secular Vocal Music - Released April 28, 2017 | Erato - Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
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Secular Vocal Music - Released October 28, 2016 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles de Classica