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Full Operas - Released May 11, 2018 | Ediciones Singulares

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 3F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica
We'll admit: this Reine de Chypre by Fromental Halévy is probably not the unfairly-overlooked work of commanding genius for which the lyrical world has been waiting for fifty years… But it would still be a shame to miss it, especially when performed by such a line-up, with Véronique Gens, Cyrille Dubois and Etienne Dupuis at the top of the bill. And after all, the score is full of vocal marvels and very original ensembles; but it is rather in the orchestration – which is not much more adventurous than that of any other piece of Italian bel canto of the era – that Halévy has taken it easy. The melodic richness was pointed out in an article in the Revue et gazette musicale in April 1842: "In the Reine de Chypre, Halévy's new style is on display with more dash, and more success. I have had occasion to point out the preconditions, as I see them, of the production of a good opera, by pointing out the obstacles which stand in the way of meeting these conditions fully and in good time, whether by the poet or the composer. When these conditions are met, it is an event of great importance for the world of art. Now, in the present case, circumstances have conspired in the performance of a work which, as even the most exacting critic must admit, possesses all the qualities which constitute a good opera. (…) The composer has put all the enchantment of his art into the duet that breathes the sentiments that enrapture them. The dark cloth on which these two charming figures are drawn shows through even in those songs which are so sparkling and alive with happiness, like a sinister cloud, and lends them a particular character of melancholy intrigue. There is no equal, in nobility or in grace, of the magnificent melody of the final part of this duet." The article continues in this vein. The byline? One Richard Wagner… © SM/Qobuz
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Symphonic Music - Released November 1, 2011 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Diamant d'Opéra Magazine - Choc de Classica - Special Soundchecks
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 6, 2012 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released November 20, 2015 | Ediciones Singulares

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Qobuzissime
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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released May 25, 2018 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
In the 17th century, Roman churches were competing to put on the greatest show to celebrate their patron saints. On these occasions, extraordinary services were performed, where many different artists would be brought together, singers and instrumentalists alike, alongside ordinary musicians, for sumptuous pieces performed by several vocal and instrumental choirs. One contemporary description gives an idea of the scale: ten choirs and ensembles played together, two on fixed stages, and eight others distributed symmetrically right along the nave, on platforms built for the occasion. Every additional stage was provided with a positive organ, while many other instruments added to the sonic splendour. So that all the musicians could play well together in spite of the distance, "capi di coro” or time-keeping drummers, would play in unison. Orazio Benevolo (1605-1672) was one of the most remarkable architects of these extravagant, multi-choral monuments. Benevolo was a choirboy at the Church of St. Louis of the French in Rome before he entered the upper echelons by taking the job of Chapel Master in 1638. The composer has left behind him an abundant set of works, containing no fewer than 34 motets for a range of players, including Regna terrae, written for twelve soprano parts distributed across six vocal choirs, each with its own basso continuo. We are also indebted to him for twelve versions of the Magnificat, for between eight and 24 voices, including one for 16 voices, in quadruple choir, which appears here. Hervé Niquet and his Concert Spirituel have made use of the ample acoustics in the Notre-Dame-du-Liban church in Paris, perfectly structured to hold several choirs distributed across the building, to create the sensations of immersion and spatial plenitude that the composer aimed for. © SM/Qobuz
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Cantatas (sacred) - Released January 12, 2018 | Ediciones Singulares

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 étoiles de Classica
An icon of French Romanticism thanks to the enduring popularity of his operas Faust and Roméo et Juliette, Charles Gounod competed three times for the prestigious Prix de Rome between 1837 and 1839. Thus he composed three unpublished cantatas for soloists and orchestra, including Marie Stuart et Rizzio and La Vendetta, which he never had the opportunity to hear in performance. Revealed for the first time, these three cantatas, fine examples of French Romanticism, show a young composer with a remarkable flair for opera. In the end Fernand won him the coveted prize, carrying with it the privilege of a three-year stay (from 1840) at the Villa Medici in Rome. While there he produced several sacred compositions, which have also remained unknown until now. His splendid Messe vocale for unaccompanied choir, written in a neo-Palestrinian style, deserves a place on the programme of every vocal ensemble. © Palazzetto Bru Zane
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Gospel - Released October 14, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Award - 4 étoiles de Classica
In 1817, two years after the restoration of the monarchy by Louis XVIII, the French court attended a performance of Cherubini’s Requiem in memory of Louis XVI; a few years later, in 1823, the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Marie-Antoinette provided the occasion for giving Charles-Henri Plantade’s Messe des morts in her memory. Berlioz had just arrived in Paris, and Napoleon had recently died in exile on the island of Saint Helena. In 2015, the two works were presented in a single concert at Versailles Palace. While Cherubini’s Requiem, scored for mixed choir and orchestra, but without soloists, is well known, Charles-Henri Plantade’s setting, which shares the same formal characteristics, is a complete discovery. It provides a striking transitional stage between the models of the Ancien Régime and early Romanticism, and displays a wealth of invention reminiscent of Méhul, Cherubini and even Rossini. This is the first recording of the work, which was revived on the initiative of the Palazzetto Bru Zane. A noted specialist in French music and large-scale sacred forms, Hervé Niquet brings out the full strength of these two works, recorded in the Chapelle Royale at Versailles, which further enrich the Alpha/Château de Versailles collection.
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Classical - Released September 8, 2015 | Ediciones Singulares

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
Félicien David was already famous through his ‘ode-symphonie’ Le Désert (1844) when his opera Herculanum was first staged at the Paris Opéra in 1859. Leaving behind the Middle Eastern inflections of his earlier scores, Herculanum is a remarkably strong composition (vast, intensely dramatic scenes), impressive in the diversity of its style (including Verdian influences) and its vocal variety (including the rare coloratura contralto voice often used by Rossini). There is also a fantastic vein, as made popular by Boiëldieu (La Dame blanche, 1825) and Meyerbeer (Robert le Diable, 1831); but the supernatural is used here to serve an openly stated mysticism: the eruption of Vesuvius brings a spectacular, cataclysmic ending, signifying the decadence of the ancient world and the triumph of Christianity. © Qobuz
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Full Operas - Released June 29, 2010 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released November 3, 2015 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released September 29, 2014 | EPR-Classic

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Opera - Released January 1, 2014 | Ediciones Singulares

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Opera - Released September 4, 2012 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Classical - Released April 2, 2013 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Opera - Released March 10, 2017 | Alpha

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Full Operas - Released January 1, 2007 | Glossa

Marin Marais (1656-1728), the subject of the popular 1991 film Tous les matins du monde, is best known today for his music for gamba, but he was prolific in a variety of genres and wrote some of the most important French operas between Lully and Rameau. Because of its dramatic weakness, Sémélé (1709) was not among his most successful works, but the music, here reconstructed by Gérard Geay, is hugely attractive, and hearing the score is perhaps the most satisfying way to experience it. The fact that Marais uses recitative very judiciously, reserving it for the moments where the drama is most heightened, makes the opera especially effective on CD. In its place, he writes short arias and ensembles that have a strong inherent musical interest, so there are few dull moments in Sémélé. In spite of the opera's weak story, it's clear Marais was a master of writing for the stage; each act is beautifully shaped and structured. Some of the most effective parts are the orchestral sections -- dances, marches, chaconnes -- whose surprising originality and brilliant instrumentation make them pop out in bold relief from the vocal textures. Throughout, Marais' writing is graceful and inventive, making Sémélé an appealing work that should be of strong interest to fans of Baroque opera. The elegance and spirit of the performances are ideally suited to the opera. Le Concert Spirituel, an ensemble using original instruments, founded and conducted by Hervé Niquet, performs with the utmost precision and with terrific energy. The soloists are uniformly fine, with strong, clear, heroic voices, and agile coloratura, and they make the most of the drama of their roles. The recording is immaculate: clean and bright, with a good sense of presence.
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Classical - Released September 6, 2011 | Glossa

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Full Operas - Released January 1, 2004 | Glossa

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Full Operas - Released January 1, 2007 | Glossa

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Ballets - Released December 31, 1996 | Naxos

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