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Classical - Released October 9, 2020 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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Recorded just before lockdown in 2020, the album “La Grotte de Versailles” mixes Lully’s music written for Philippe Quinault’s libretto with a particularly cruel comedy by Molière.
It was recorded in the Crusade Rooms set up by Louis-Philippe in the Château de Versailles around 1845 to pay tribute to the nobility after upheavals from the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.Love doesn’t triumph in Georges Dandin and marriage is viewed more like a market where feelings don’t come into play. This gritty comedy-ballet was created in Versailles in 1668 for the Great Royal Entertainment, a party held by Louis XIV to celebrate the peace treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle that brought the war between France and Spain to a close.This album precedes a huge theatrical project by the Ensemble Marguerite Louise conducted by Gaétan Jarry. Featuring actors dressed in refined outfits by Christian Lacroix, the project will be directed by Michel Fau who is accustomed to nightmarish stage productions. The coronavirus pandemic has only added to the nightmare, forcing the programme to be postponed until 2021. This brilliant recording gives us a taster of the shows that will be held next year in Versailles, Compiègne and many other places. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 25, 2020 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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To say that André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry's 1784 comic opera, Richard Coeur de Lion, has a lot to answer for is something of an understatement, when it was its popular Act I air, “O Richard, O my King”, which in 1789 accidentally brought about one of the defining moments of the French Revolution: the air is sung by the imprisoned King Richard's knights who want to free him, and one night in 1789 it became the song French officers chose to sing to King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette under house arrest at Versailles after the couple turned up to greet the officers at a banquet thrown in the Royal Opera House; which in turn got interpreted by the Paris press as an anti-revolutionary act, leading to the palace being stormed and the royal couple taken away, never to return. Add the fact that Grétry was none other than Marie-Antoinette's favourite composer, and the opera was an obvious choice for the Royal Opera House's 250th anniversary season. Plus, the October 2019 production under the direction of Hervé Niquet was a wonderful one: fizzing with vivacious energy and fun, nailing its grandeur and intimacy in equal measure, all with just the right dose of heart-on-sleeve sentimentality, and from a no-exceptions superb cast of young talent - headed up by tenors Rémy Mathieu as Richard and Reinoud Van Mechelen as Blondel - supported by an on-fire Le Concert Spirituel. So, although with this live recording you don't get to enjoy the production's sumptuous late eighteenth century stage sets and concerts, the music making was of a level for it all still to be leaping out of the stereo regardless. What's more, the polished, immediate engineering has done a magnificent job of capturing the theatre's acoustics, meaning you really do feel as if you're sat there in the theatre's best seats. Then, while one might imagine that non-French speakers may get less out of the audio alone, given that the opera's action moves forwards not via sung recitatives but instead spoken texts, the reality is that the vim and melodious tones with which those spoken lines are dispatched actually amounts to a sort of music in itself. In short, thank goodness they snuck this one in before Covid, because it's a life-affirming triumph. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 11, 2020 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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Classical - Released August 28, 2020 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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This is a sort of selfportrait of the Great Organ of the Royal Chapel of Versailles, delivering all its aspects, enhanced by the choice of a repertoire emblematic of the baroque era: the major classic French organ works (Couperin, Marchand, Grigny, Corrette) composed to glorify the very specific aesthetics of instruments like that of Louis XIV’s Chapel; but also to reveal its other sound riches, transcriptions of chefs d’œuvres, from Le Sommeil d’Atys by Lully, to the contredanses of Rameau’s Boréades. To add a new dimension to the organ’s sound universe and to enhance its orchestral qualities, modern editing and “re-recording” processes were gently used to serve the superposition of musical voices, as if invisible hands filled in for the organist in certain works, which are true Proust’s “madeleines” for Gaétan Jarry. He goes all out to play the instrument of Versailles “for the Glory of God and the King”! © Château de Versailles Spectacles
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Classical - Released April 24, 2020 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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When it comes to his illustration of music at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, Martini had more to show than Plaisir d’amour alone. The Bavarian, would rise to glory at the French court and enjoy a privileged position among the sovereigns. Appointed Superintendent of the King’s Music in 1788, he fled France under the Terror before making a triumphant return to Paris with his opera Sapho, joined the Conservatoire in 1796, distanced himself from the stage and, finally, was reinstated as Superintendent in 1815. That same year, in Saint-Denis, he had the honour of hosting his Requiem Mass with a full orchestra, on 21 January 1815, when the remains of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were transferred to the Royal Basilica. This Requiem in memory of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette was performed once again one year after, to mark the anniversary of the martyr King. However, this spectacular piece, written for three soloists, a full orchestra and choir, seems to date from 1811 and bears the musical accents of the Empire – fitting for a celebration of the monarchy! Hervé Niquet gives to this highly symbolic work of the history of France and Versailles, a resurrection that brings Martini back into the spotlight of the last monarchic splendour. © Château de Versailles Spectacles
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Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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Classical - Released November 15, 2019 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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Classical - Released November 15, 2019 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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A Noel is a French Christmas carol, and the ones here are sung by Les Pages du CMBV (Centre Musique Baroque de Versailles), a children's choir. Their voices do not soar, but they are not the stars of the show. Instead, the album is part of a series called L'age d'or de l'orgue français, and the main attraction is organist Gaétan Jarry, and even more so, the 1710 organ at the Versailles chapel. It's a marvelous instrument, clear in all registers, lively, and bracing. The composer-organists here are largely unknown today, at least outside France, but hearing these works, the listener may understand why crowd control police had to show up for performance by the likes of Claude Balbastre (1724-1799). Jarry performs the Noels with the choir singing verses in alternation with the organ. He admits there's no particular precedent for doing it this way, and indeed the choir tends to interrupt the organist's momentum a bit. However, the organ variations themselves are fascinating, and the music is both enjoyable in its pleasant pastoral sounds and instructive as to the missing links between the French Baroque organ school and the virtuoso French styles of the 19th century. Clear, rich sound is a bonus on this offbeat French holiday selection. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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Classical - Released October 11, 2019 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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Bach celebrated his first Christmas in Leipzig (1723) in style. On the morning of 25 December, his cantata Christen, ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63 resounded in the church of Saint Thomas. It opens and closes on a great choir, a perfect prelude to the Magnificat, BWV 243A played at afternoon vespers. The young conductor Valentin Tournet (23 years old!) is particularly interested in the lesser- known aspects of Bach's great works. And so for his ensemble's first release, he has chosen to record the first version of the Magnificat. Written in E-Flat Major, a great key for horns, this score prefers recorders, with their pastoral timbre, to traverso flutes. Much less-played and - recorded than the revised version of 1743 (in D Major and numbered BWV 243), this score is offered here alongside four laude for the Nativity. Valentin Tournet brings courage and talent to these works and presents us with a particularly brilliant version, thanks to well-made, judicious choices. A viol player, he is sensitive to the vital energy which the cello unleashes, provided that it isn't overpowered by the organ (a positive organ has been selected for this reason). The piece's élan is all the greater because the soloists don't restrict themselves to their own arias, but mix with the choir. The continuity is total, and the emotion is truly collective. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 27, 2019 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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Classical - Released June 14, 2019 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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The Mass of "Roi Soleil" was without any doubt one of the privileged rites for the standing of the glory of the sovereign, as much because of its splendor, as for its ceremonial aspect, which brings time to a halt, solidifying the eternal image of royal power. The greatest composers of the kingdom distinguished themselves by making the holy service a veritable heavenly concert. The bell rang, the fifes and drums announced the arrival of the king in the gallery, the organ burst forth, the Grands Motets by Lully and Delalande enthralled under the golden vaults, the delicate and intimate petits motets by Couperin appear with grace in the alcoves of the Royal Chapel. © CV Spectacles
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Classical - Released May 17, 2019 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 22, 2019 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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Classical - Released February 22, 2019 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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Classical - Released October 26, 2018 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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What a joy Rousseau's Village Soothsayer is: surely the first opera whose words and music were written by the same person! Aside from its exhilarating musical discourse, this work illustrates the many contradictions that litter the life and work of a figure who was soon to declare, in his Lettre sur la musique française, that Italian vocal music was superior. "There is neither a clear beat nor melody in French music", he boldly stated, "because the French language is not susceptible to either. French song is only a continual squealing, intolerable to every unbiased ear; French harmony is brutish, without expression and suggests nothing other than the filling material of a beginner; the French “air” is not an air at all; and the French recitative is not at all a recitative. From all this I conclude that the French do not have music, and that if they ever do have it, it will be all the worse for them." Nothing too controversial then! Le Devin du village gives a gentle contradiction to this earlier statement (which Rousseau would go back on when he heard Gluck sung in French): memorable melodies (including some real hits), a delicious vocal line, perfectly comprehensible and yet intimately French: all the elements of this 1752 "intermède" add up to a real gem of French lyrical art from the middle of the 18th century. Unfortunately, the work has rarely been recorded, and so we mustn’t take this new work from Sébastian d'Hérin for granted. Here he leads his ensemble, Les Nouveaux Caractères. The recording took place in July 2017, during concerts at the Queen's Theatre of Versailles. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 28, 2018 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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Classical - Released September 14, 2018 | Château de Versailles Spectacles

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