Friday, September 3, 2010

Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques - Les Grandes Eaux Musicales De Versailles


This is a perfect collection of dances, overtures, airs, choruses, vocal duets, and trios representing the greatest French Baroque opera composers (and Gluck at his most French, in a tiny, manic vocal trio from Bauci et Filemone), ideal for those who want to get their pieds wet but may have a fear of this particular period, place, and repertoire. And true, the cream-puffed, bewigged music can seem a bit much until you learn to love it--just see it as caloric but not filled with trans-fats, and sit back and enjoy.

These highlights are taken from other recordings; it is a compilation meant to recreate a stroll through the gardens at Versailles when the fountains are all a-twitter and the music is playing through the topiary. Be that as it may, it's a delicious collection of French frippery.

Christophe Rousset There are 28 tracks, some as short as 33 seconds, one almost 12 minutes, but most in between and under four minutes. This assures that we cannot become bored, and a wild dance will be followed by an introspective air; a suite for strings will be followed by some lovely wind music; triumphal music or an aria of betrayal will bring forth trumpets and drums. The textures are ravishing as played on period instruments, and the timpanists really know how to thwack.

The performances are splendid, with Christophe Rousset and his great Talens Lyriques at their most lively and lovely, depending on the situation. The accompanying notes are a bit precious but do manage to introduce the listener to not only the specific music, but the forms (passacaille, chaconne). And if you look carefully, you'll note that the dates for Rameau are given as "1683-1784". Quite the revelation. Highly recommended. --Robert Levine


flac, scans


  1. ...and what a shower it is! I have been lucky enough to visit Versailles some years ago...

  2. Lucky boy!
    I visited Paris last September, but there was no time to go to Versailles. A perfect excuse to return soon...

  3. I have had Versailles on my list for a while too. Must visit it some day soon. This October I will head for Venice and Cremona so maybe next year. Thank you for a wonderful recording Otto! :-)

  4. Ohh Venice...I have very fond memories. Dear Sankerib I am sure you will be overwhelmed as I was... Bon Voyage!



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