Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jean-Baptiste Lully - Les Divertissements de Versailles – Christie, Les Arts Florissants


This superb recording of Lully's compositions for the court of Louis XIV is almost perfect in delivery; evoking the sophistication, wit, grandeur, humor that would be required to entertain the most demanding of monarchs amidst the most sophisticated court in Europe of it's time. The character of Lully is fascinating. He was an Italian actor, dancer and musician who becomes the central creative force in music theatre in the court of the Sun King. However it is the flawless music that is contained in this recordingLouis XIV, King of France, in 1661. that should be heard. With the use of period instruments William Christie and Les Arts Florissants paint a range of compositions from various operas and periods in Lully's career at the court of the Sun King. The ten vocalists have absolute control of the material, evoking the type of control that must have been necessary in the performances at court. In L'Amour Medecin, Comedy, Music, and Ballet sing together: "Let us three unite with zeal unrivalled." Certainly this was Lully's philosophy and vocation. In Georges Dandin we hear the followers of Love debate the followers of Bacchus as to whether Love or Drink is the greatest pleasure. The themes of erotic and romantic love appear to be those that Lully realized would best entertain the court. In Armide we have the lines: "The world lies at the feet of this young hero. How could one think he was born for nothing but war? He seems made for love." Mythological themes and sweet seduction are also frequent themes as in Isis where Pan sings: "Throw your vain fears to the winds! Put love and its charms to the test." The themes of seduction, romance, erotic love permeate the works, here presented with a structured and calculated text that does not give the singers permission to over-interpret. Such grand music, controlled themes and texts, must be a reflection of the atmosphere of power in the court of Louis XIV. Working within this confine of taste, order, and temporal power, Lully was a master and these works reflect that creativity of a composer who fully embraces the need to please and entertain in a politically safe manner as a central motivation for his efforts. Les Arts Florissants does a wonderful job re-creating these highly polished entertainments.—CB Collins

flac, scans


  1. very, Very, VERY nice upload my friend. I simply have to get this one down on my HD tonight. Thanks! :-)

  2. Otto! This one's sitting on my Arkiv wish list, but until I can order it... besten Dank!

  3. happy to see this one and much appreciated as usual--Veilen dank



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