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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

Symphonic Music - Released November 1, 2011 | Glossa

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

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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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Full Operas - Released September 14, 2018 | Bru Zane

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
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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.

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

Classical - Released April 2, 2013 | Glossa

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Opera - Released September 4, 2012 | Glossa

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles de Classica
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Full Operas - Released January 1, 2007 | Glossa

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Classical - Released September 6, 2011 | Glossa

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Classical - Released January 1, 2008 | Glossa

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Full Operas - Released January 1, 2004 | Glossa

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 1, 2004 | Glossa

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Masses, Passions, Requiems - Released January 4, 2011 | 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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Full Operas - Released January 1, 2007 | Glossa

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André Cardinal Destouches (1672-1749) is virtually unknown today, but he was the preeminent composer of French opera in the half century between the end of Lully's career and the beginning of Rameau's. On the basis of this fine recording of Callirhoé, considered one of his most important operas, the neglect is difficult to understand. Its strength lies not so much in its originality -- it basically develops the conventions established by Lully -- but in the music's ability to illuminate the drama. Destouches was clearly a master of music for the theater; his scenes build with power and inexorability, and his dramatic confrontations, in particular, are vividly expressed. The conclusion of the second act, for example, depicting the priests of Bacchus going on a rampage, has a wildness and energy one usually associates not so much with the Baroque as with the heat of the Romantic era. The starkness of the opera's finale, which abruptly ends with a character's suicide, is brilliant theater, but entirely out of character with the conventions of the time, which would have required a tidy denouement, and most likely, the intervention of a deity. The first, 1712 version of Callirhoé, in fact, had just such an ending, but the composer revised the opera extensively for revivals in 1731 and 1743, and wisely rethought the finale, hugely increasing its effectiveness. Destouches' vocal writing is expressive and gratifyingly lyrical, and even his recitatives have emotional power. His orchestration is notably varied and colorful. The recording is the result of the commitment and passion of Hervé Niquet, director of Le Concert Spirituel, which he leads in this outstanding performance. The orchestra and chorus perform with energy and finesse, and the climaxes are thrillingly urgent. The soloists, none of whom are international stars, sound like they ought to be, singing with unfailing purity, idiomatic security, and dramatic intensity. Glossa's exemplary sound is full, warm, and spacious, with excellent balance. Callirhoé should be of strong interest to any fan of Baroque opera, and a reminder of the wealth of strong repertoire that has yet to achieve broad exposure.

Full Operas - Released January 1, 2001 | Glossa

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