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Classical - Released February 5, 2021 | CPO

Booklet
Michel-Richard Delalande is regarded as one of the great composers of the French Baroque, and so it is not surprising that our prizewinning Boston Early Music Ensemble has now turned to him. Along with his many sacred works, Delalande also wrote for the various court occasions that required secular music. Les Fontaines de Versailles, the work occupying a central position on this release, above all contributed to Delalande’s increasing popularity. It was performed on 5 April 1683, some weeks before Delalande was appointed to the coveted post of “Sous-maître de Chapelle.” After the court had settled in Versailles with King Louis XIV in 1682, its musical microcosm also experienced a renewal. Les Fontaines de Versailles numbered among Delalande’s efforts to produce an oeuvre perfectly tailored for Versailles, both in its form as well as in its poetic content, thereby demonstrating his skill as a composer of »French music« and displaying it in a proper light for the king. It is with refined sophistication that Les Fontaines de Versailles evokes the special relationship between the king and his gardens. Delalande beyond doubt occupied the first place among Louis XIV’s favorites: in 1689 the king named the thirty-one-year-old his “Surintendant de la Musique de la Chambre,” a post that before only Jean-Baptiste Lully and then one of his sons had held. © CPO
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Classical - Released September 20, 2010 | CPO

Marc-Antoine Charpentier was neglected for centuries after his death, but by the late 20th century increased frequency of performances and recordings revealed him as one of the geniuses of the Baroque. He had a distinctive, individual voice and a gift for subtle emotional expression capable of evoking the most profound grief, as well as a loopy humor rarely associated with music of his era. Musical directors Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs lead the vocal and chamber ensembles of the Boston Early Music Festival in characteristically expert performances of Charpentier's 40-minute pastoral opera Actéon, the brief cantata Orphée descendant aux enfers, and incidental music for the play La Pierre Philisophale. The musically polished performances shimmer with life and dramatic urgency. The cast of young soloists sings Charpentier's graceful, yearning melodies with naturalness and a sure grasp of the middle Baroque French style. Their ornamentation sounds entirely spontaneous, as expressions of emotion rather than merely the fulfillment of a formulaic stylistic requirement. The singers are so consistently first-rate, singing with sweet tone, flawless intonation, and technical mastery, that it seems almost unfair to single any out for special commendation over the others. Tenors Aaron Sheehan and Jason McStoots and soprano Teresa Wakim shine in the most prominent roles. The sound of CPO's 2009 recording is clean, clear, and nicely present. This is an album that should interest any fans of Baroque vocal music. © TiVo
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Opera - Released August 2, 2019 | CPO

Booklet
Recorded in January 2019 in the studios of Radio Bremen in Germany, these two little operas by Rameau were performed at Versailles before King Louis XIV and his court. Les Plaisirs de Versailles were played in the royal apartments for a privileged few, while Les Arts florissants, a real showpiece for the state, demonstrates the importance held by the arts in the Kingdom of France. They speak of political power, and of the pacification of Europe by the King.Long-time performers of French baroque music, the musicians and singers of the Boston Early Music Festival are absolutely remarkable. Thanks to high-value instrumentalists and singers who have mastered French pronunciation, the performance led by musical directors Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs hits the right note.It was official music to be sure, but it will be enjoyed for its intrinsic merit, quite apart from any political considerations. The unbearable lightness of being raises a smile, particularly in the third part of the Plaisirs de Versailles which sees an appearance by Comus, god of revels. He offers fine wines, exquisite cakes, and hot chocolate. "La Musique" refuses, fearing that the chocolate will only encourage "La Conversation". Stumped, Comus suggests that she resolve their dispute by playing. This whole allegory is pleasing and provides food for thought about a society which was uniquely self-absorbed, disdaining that "real life" beyond the confines of the château of which it was quite ignorant. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Opera - Released April 26, 2011 | CPO

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Classical - Released January 1, 2016 | CPO

Booklet