Les Musiciens du Louvre
Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble has ranked among the leading interpreters of Baroque music in Europe since its creation. The repertoire of Les Musiciens du Louvre reflects Marc Minkowski's tastes: he has championed music by Marais, Mouret, Charpentier, Lully, and Rameau, and is determined to revive interest in Handel's lesser-known operas. The period-instrument ensemble Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble was founded in Paris in 1982 by Minkowski, who has served as its conductor since its founding. Recognition came quickly, and soon it was asked to participate in high-profile events. In 1992, it inaugurated the Baroque Festival in Versailles with a revival of Gluck's Armide, and in 1993, participated in the official reopening of the Lyon Opera, performing Phaëton by Lully. Les Musiciens du Louvre established permanent residence in Grenoble in 1996, joining forces with the Orchestre de Chambre de Grenoble. During the following seasons, it performed and recorded Gluck's Armide, Handel's Ariodante, Charpentier's Te Deum, Rameau's Dardanus, and Handel's "Roman" motets. In 1995, the group performed Purcell's Dido and Aeneas at the Toronto Opera, the Houston Opera, the BBC Proms, and the Opéra Royal in Versailles. Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble has recorded for several labels, including Erato, Archiv Produktion, and Naïve. Its discography with Erato includes works such as Handel's Teseo, Mouret's Les Amours de Ragonde, Jean-Féry Rebel's symphonie nouvelle, Les Élémens, Handel's Concerti Grossi, Op. 3, and Lully's Phaëton. In 1993, the group was awarded the coveted Gramophone Award for Best Baroque Vocal Recording for its rendering of Alessandro Stradella's San Giovanni Battista. For Archiv Produktion, it has recorded Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie and Anacréon, Handel's very early Oratorio per la Resurrezione di Nostro Signor Gesù Cristo, and Lully's Acis et Galatée. In 1998/1999, it recorded Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride and performed Rameau's difficult Platée at the Opéra National de Paris and the Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele. The group also presented Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea at the Festival international d'Aix-en-Provence. In 1999/2000, it toured throughout Europe with Magdalena Kozená performing Handel's "Italian" cantatas and Hercules, as well as J.S. Bach's Orchestral Suites. In 2000, the group was featured on the original soundtrack of Le Messie, a film by William Klein. The 2000/2001 season featured productions of Offenbach's La belle Hélène at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Handel's Ariodante at the Opéra National de Paris with Anne-Sofie von Otter, as well as a revival of Platée in Geneva, Montpellier, Metz, Grenoble, and Bordeaux. Since 2005, the ensemble has ventured into later repertoire, performing works by Berlioz, Bizet, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinsky. In 2019, Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble, under Minkowski, issued a recording of Offenbach's La Périchole on the Palazzetto Bru Zane label.
© John Palmer & Keith Finke /TiVo
© John Palmer & Keith Finke /TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Archiv Produktion
French Baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau left behind an extraordinary wealth of orchestral music, but little to none of it is of the stand-alone variety, scattered as it is throughout his 18 operas and 13 ballets left to posterity, in whole or in part. Conductor Marc Minkowski has elected to redress the imbalance by compiling 17 of Rameau's best orchestral moments into Une Symphonie Imaginaire, an "imaginary symphony" performed by period instrument ensemble Les Musiciens du Louvre and issued on compact discs by Archiv Produktion. This type of montage of related bits and pieces from various scores morphed, if you will, into a single work is a time-honored tradition, particularly as it relates to Baroque music; for example, Sir John Barbirolli's Suite for wind & strings arranged from bits and pieces of Henry Purcell or Sir Hamilton Harty's arrangements from Handel. Yet Une Symphonie Imaginaire is a world away from the Baroque boom of the 1930s. The sequence of pieces here, drawn from the operas Zaïs, Les Fêtes d'Hébe, Dardanus, Le Temple de la Gloire, Les Boréades, and Hippolyte & Aricie; the ballets La Naissance d'Osiris and Platée; and a contemporary arrangement of the Rameau's keyboard piece La Poule, is mainly intended for this album and not for use in concert. Minkowski does not attempt to assert that his "symphony" drawn from Rameau's music is anything that the composer himself may have devised -- in Rameau's time, the symphony itself was a mere baby, little more than a fancy name for an opera overture. Much of Rameau's music is eccentric and utilizes revolutionary techniques for this era, particularly in fracturing individual lines within the orchestra in order to provide a fragmented, disjunctive quality to the texture. The "Prelude to Act V" of Les Boréades sounds almost like a Baroque overture as reorganized by John Cage. The anonymous arrangement of La Poule is an outstanding character piece and quite unusual for any orchestral music of the mid-eighteenth century. Overall, Une Symphonie Imaginaire is splendidly well played and sequenced in a fast-moving order, although music-by-the-yard fanatics may find the 56-minute running time too stingy. This Hybrid CD version is to be preferred over the standard CD release, as the latter suffers from an intermittent high end, whereas the Hybrid CD accurately represents this superb Archiv recording for what it is with no dropouts or other sonic anomalies. © TiVo