Albums

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Classical - Released March 9, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice
The Tenebræ responsories come from an immense collection of polyphonic music for Holy Week, the Officium Hebdomadæ Sanctæ, published by Victoria in 1585, which brings together several pieces written during the twenty years he spent in Rome. The responsories, brought together here, form part of a much longer Tenebræ, which essentially combined the monastic Hours of matins and lauds, for each of the final three days of the Holy Week. One of the characteristic traits of this service consists in the progressive extinguishing of fifteen votive candles until the church is finally plunged into the darkness from which the ceremony draws its name. The responsory is one part of a much broader liturgy, which was for the most part sung in plainsong. The musical richness of Victoria's polyphonic compositions made a striking contrast to this liturgy. Such an effect is harder to effect in concert, or even on a recording, where we are outside the liturgical context: here, we have uninterrupted polyphony. While the music is very varied, the uninterrupted use of the same mode and the same textures in three or four pieces throughout these 18 Responsories could, at times, give the impression that one is listening to a single piece. To counteract that impression, here and there the Stile Antico vocal ensemble has introduced extracts from readings of the Lamentations, sung in plainsong at the end of each Responsory. And so the contrast is restored. The programme closes with the luminous and oh-so-soothing six-voice motet for Holy Week O Domine Jesu Christi, again published in Rome in 1576. © SM/Qobuz
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Opera Extracts - Released February 23, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Diamant d'Opéra Magazine - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
With his ensemble Pygmalion, Raphaël Pichon has written the listing for this album in the form of a "pastiche" of a Mass for the Dead, a Requiem both sacred and profane. While it is a long way from having all the defining traits, it does possess all the outlines: Introit, Kyrie, Gradual, Sequence, Offertory, In Paradisum... The idea came about after a recent discovery, in the Bibliothèque Nationale of an anonymous requiem mass from the 18th century, in which the writer constructed a "parody" based on musical extracts from Castor and Pollux and the Fêtes de Paphos by Jean-Philippe Rameau. Note that the term "parody" doesn't necessarily imply satire or mockery: it refers to the practice of taking up older music and setting new words to it. This fusion of sacred music (the mass) and profane music (lyrical tragedy), a common practice during the Enlightenment, was a procedure that Pichon wanted to take up. In French society at the time, when Catholicism was the norm, where the political system was monarchical rule by divine right, the representation of ancient pagan Hell on theatrical stages seemed to betray a fascination in the beliefs of the ancients. And so this programme melds together pagan fable with a Christian imaginary, where Hell takes on different faces. It is the place of unjust and eternal torment, a place of privation where a couple is separated, one half kept in Hades. But, in the lyrical tragedy, Hell is also a place of perdition: obscure forces unleashed in Sabbath rites, a Satanic vision which unearths the darkest depths of the human soul... Stéphane Degout is the author of this tragedy, bringing together such varied characters as Phaedra, Pluto, and the Parcae. The composers whose music is put to use are Rameau and Gluck, with a single borrowing from Rebel: it would have been a shame not to mention his singular Chaos (taken from Éléments), which starts with a dissonant chord containing the seven notes of the scale of D minor. © SM/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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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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Chamber Music - Released February 3, 2017 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
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Symphonic Music - Released August 12, 2016 | Seattle Symphony Media

Hi-Res Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released April 29, 2016 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - 4 étoiles de Classica
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 25, 2016 | Accent

Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released September 4, 2015 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
For this second recording in duo, Lucile Boulanger and Arnaud de Pasquale propose a journey to 18th-century Germany, in the marvelous setting of the Sans Souci palace where Frederick II of Prussia had established his court. This disc, reflecting the extraordinary conjuncture experienced by the court of Berlin under Frederick II, brings together some of the virtuosic works for viola da gamba and fortepiano by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach, Johann Gottlieb Graun or Ludwig Christian Hesse and attesting to the results of fruitful collaborations between the composers at that court. © Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 3, 2015 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
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Folk/Americana - Released February 10, 2015 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Contemporary Jazz - Released May 20, 2014 | Outnote Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released January 1, 2010 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica