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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 - 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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Full Operas - Released September 3, 2015 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
In 1745, the King of France granted Jean-Philippe Rameau the title of ‘Composer to the Court’, coupled with a healthy pension. This new period produced pieces of a much lighter character, with Rameau working alongside the librettist Louis de Cahusac, and the resulting collaborations are now counted amongst the Burgundian musician’s greatest masterpieces. Zaïs was presented on the stage of the Royal Academy of Music in 1748. This heroic ballet offers French music some of its most beautiful movements, both vocally and instrumentally. The entire work is a meditation on its famous opening chaos, and succeeds, surprisingly, through its theatrical stamp and in the audacity of the writing. The plot is, perhaps, tenuous – a lover (Zaïs) is in the throes of affection for his beloved (Zélidie), determining to cherish her – which serves as the pretext for endless entertainment, dancing, and the work’s magical character. Today, it remains surprising that a work as sumptuous as Rameau’s Zaïs is neglected in favour of the Indes Galantes or Hippolyte et Aricie. It is paradoxical, then, that in 1970 Gustav would combine the small amount of French music he truly appreciated with a reassessment of the beauties of this work. Gustav created a fascinating recording with La Petite Bande Sigiswald Kuijken (STIL), which has now become a true rarity, despite its questionable vocalists. Happily for us, Christophe Rousset, who cherishes Rameaus’s older work, has dedicated himself to it, and offers us this gorgeously captured rendition, with French singers working under the direction of his sharp and witty leadership. The opening of the Les Talens Lyriques recital is far more vivid than anything that has been achieved in over twenty years for L’Oiseau-Lyre, in which the Ouverture immediately sets the tone. Rousset completely captures the brilliance of the score, and his imagination – which here seems insatiable – liberates his singers, who are boundlessly invested in this work; complicit in a musical resurrection. An enchantment of sorts? No. A whirlwind, rather. © Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released February 23, 2015 | Mirare

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording
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Classical - Released September 1, 2017 | Aparté

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Month - Choc de Classica - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
Christophe Rousset and the Talens Lyriques bring us to the stage of the Royal Academy of Music where Pygmalion, an act of ballet by Jean-Philippe Rameau inspired by an episode of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, was created in 1748. Love, showing empathy for Pygmalion’s despair of loving a statue, invigorates the sculpted woman who immediately falls in love with her creator. Very suggestive, the music of this tender and mischievous ballet deploys the grace of 18th century dances. Like Ovid’s Love, Christophe Rousset instils life in this score, one of Rameau’s greatest successes in his day, and offers us, thanks to his sense of drama and his impeccable leadership, a new and essential reading of this ballet. © Aparté
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Opera - Released April 6, 2018 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Created in 1749 to commemorate the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle signed between George II and Louis XV of France to end the War of the Austrian Succession, Rameau’s pastorale héroïque Naïs consecrates the triumph of virtuosity on the stage of the Académie Royale de Musique, while in England, Handel wrote his famous Music for the Royal Fireworks for the same occasion. Weary of sombre tragedies and their dark and oppressive passions, audiences received lighter works more enthusiastically – ballets and pastorales – for which soprano Marie Fel and tenor Pierre Jélyotte were applauded for their prodigious vocal performances. With Naïs, Rameau produces some of his most impressive pages, among which the overture and descriptive prologue, tracing the epic fight between the Titans and the heavenly court for the rule of Olympus. Chivalrous exchanges, athlete evolutions, prophecies, pastoral celebrations, naval battles and underwater nuptials punctuate the work and support the blooming of tender feelings that unite Naïs and Neptune. This co-production between the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles (CMBV − Centre of Baroque Music Versailles) and the Müpa Budapest Early Music Festival confirms the position of György Vashegyi in the field of baroque music, and French music in particular. Following the success of Rameau’s Les Fêtes de Polymnie (The Festivals of Polyhymnia) in 2015, and the revelation that was Mondonville’s Isbé, the Hungarian conductor is at it again with excellent singers and his two ensembles, the Budapest Orfeo Orchestra and the Purcell Chorus, which he founded in Budapest at the end of his studies at The Franz Liszt Academy of Music, completed by master classes from the likes of Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Helmut Rilling. This French-Hungarian production focusing on Rameau will be extended with the upcoming release of Les Indes Galantes (The Amorous Indies). © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Opera - Released October 28, 2013 | Warner Classics International

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Le Choix de France Musique - 4 étoiles Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released March 27, 2020 | La Musica

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Classical - Released July 15, 2016 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released June 1, 2018 | Resonus Classics

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Late in his career, Jean-Philippe Rameau was celebrated for his colorful operas and ballets, but prior to these successes, his fame rested on his Traité de l'harmonie (1722) and a series of keyboard pieces which were published over the years as three suites. These works have been frequently played on harpsichord and piano, though among contemporary scholarly performances, the harpsichord is increasingly favored for recordings. Steven Devine's 2018 set of the complete keyboard music on Resonus offers the Premier livre de pièces de clavecin (1705/06), the Pièces de clavessin (1724), and the Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin (1726/27), plus a smattering of free-standing miniatures, including the Menuet en rondeau, the Cinq pièces, La Dauphine, Air pour Zéphire (in a transcription by Devine), and Rameau's keyboard reduction of the overture, airs, and dances from the opera Les Indes galantes (1735/36). This three-disc set is comprehensive and the most thorough presentation of Rameau's keyboard music available on CD, except for the omission of the questionable Les petits marteaux. Devine's playing is impeccable and faithful to historical practices, and the sound of the double-manual harpsichord, a modern copy of an instrument by Andreas Ruckers, is robust and closely recorded. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 19, 2009 | Eloquentia

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Classical - Released March 8, 2015 | Solstice

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Classical - Released June 1, 2018 | Resonus Classics

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Classical - Released October 20, 2014 | La Musica

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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released September 8, 2014 | INTERARTS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica
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Opera - Released September 18, 2015 | Signum Records

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Classical - Released August 1, 2000 | Chandos

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Concertos - Released August 1, 2004 | Chandos

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When was the last time you saw the Marquis de Sade mentioned in the liner notes to an album of Baroque harpsichord music? Sophie Yates does just that in her notes to her Rameau Pièces de clavecin: Vol. 2 album, and better still, she makes you buy the comparison. She quotes Rameau himself, buttering up his audiences for one of the wilder moves in the famed "L'enharmonique," from the Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin of 1728: "The harmony that creates this effect has by no means been thrown in haphazardly; it is based on logic and has the sanction of nature herself; it is the ingredient most savored by the connoisseur...," Rameau wrote. "Shades of Rameau's near-contemporary, the Marquis de Sade," notes Yates! (It's commendable that she handles the note-writing herself, by the way.) Included on this sequel to Yates' other fine albums of Rameau's keyboard music are the two Nouvelles suites, the festive La dauphine of 1747, and solo keyboard versions (something explicitly okayed by Rameau himself) of the Pièces de clavecin en concerts of 1741. Yates has rescued Rameau's keyboard music from a tradition of interpretation that emphasizes its academic side. Her playing is exquisitely balanced between the density of Rameau's music (he is Bach's equal in this respect), its pictorial aspect (carrying on the tradition of Couperin), and its occasional but essential propensity toward exoticism and shock. The counterparts to "L'enharmonique" in the Nouvelles suites are two little pieces entitled "Les Sauvages" and "L'Egyptienne," fascinating representations of the Other in the circumscribed language of Baroque keyboard music. Yates is a powerful player, and if you can get yourself attuned to the closed-hothouse vibe of the French High Baroque, the album's a real thrill ride. And Chandos' sound engineers have done an especially fine job with the solo harpsichord here. Relax and enjoy. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 2, 2014 | Resonus Classics

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Classical - Released November 3, 2014 | Resonus Classics

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