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, 2006 | Archiv Produktion
Tension -- it's a wonderful thing. The tension between great pitching and great hitting is what keeps baseball interesting. The tension between will she or won't she is what keeps dating fascinating. And, of course, the tension between centrifugal force and gravitational force is what keeps the whole universe spinning. But as an interpretive point of view for Mozart's symphonies No. 40 and No. 41, tension is of doubtful value. Yet tension is pretty much all conductor Marc Minkowski has on his mind in these 2006 recordings with his Les Musiciens du Louvre. He pushes already too quick tempos forward to underline a point -- and his players seem not altogether willing to go with him. He pulls already too slow tempos back to round off a phrase -- and once again his players are not altogether willing to go with him. He drives the strings too hard -- and the players go out of tune. He forces the winds too often -- and the players go out of sync. Compared to either the overly refined Herbert von Karajan/Berlin Philharmonic performances or the acutely etiolated Christopher Hogwood/Academy of Ancient Music performances, Minkowski and Les Musiciens' performances may seem revelatory. Compared with the controlled passion of the Bruno Walter/New York Philharmonic performances or the commanding power of the Karl Böhm/Vienna Philharmonic performances, Minkowski and Les Musiciens sound merely too tense. Archiv's standard clean and close sound is oddly gray and strangely distant. © TiVo