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William Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Giovanni Antonini, Eva Mei - Handel: Acis and Galatea, Theodora, Solo Cantatas (2008)

Posted By: ArlegZ
William Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Giovanni Antonini, Eva Mei - Handel: Acis and Galatea, Theodora, Solo Cantatas (2008)

William Christie, Les Arts Florissants, Giovanni Antonini, Il Giardino Armonico, Eva Mei - Handel: Acis and Galatea, Theodora, Solo Cantatas [6CDs] (2008)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 1.45 Mb | Total time: 05:24:22 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Warner Classics | # 2564 69564-1 | Recorded: 1999, 2003

William Christie’s account on Erato is probably now a first recommendation… he has marshalled expert singers; Alan Ewing’s Polyphemus is particularly good, well characterized and spirited. Indeed, the whole performance is full of life and personality, and Christie holds everything together with finesse and grace.

Nicholas McGegan, FestspielOrchester Gottingen, NDR Chor - Handel: Samson (2009)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Nicholas McGegan, FestspielOrchester Gottingen, NDR Chor - Handel: Samson (2009)

Nicholas McGegan, FestspielOrchester Göttingen, NDR Chor - Handel: Samson (2009)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 806 Mb | Total time: 60:09+57:46+49:17 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Carus | # 83.425 | Recorded: 2008

Handel’s English oratorios, though unstaged, generally remain vividly theatrical. Samson is less operatic, opening with the hero already defeated, blinded and in chains, long after Dalila’s seduction and subsequent treachery. The drama is of the mind rather than of action, with virtually no incidents in Act I, and Act II limited to two encounters, Dalila offering remorse and the giant Harapha mocking the captive.

]William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - Charpentier: In Divertissements, Airs et Concerts (1999)

Posted By: ArlegZ
]William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - Charpentier: In Divertissements, Airs et Concerts (1999)

William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - Charpentier: In Divertissements, Airs et Concerts (1999)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 342 Mb | Total time: 73:15 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Erato | 3984-25485-2 | Recorded: 1998

This is a mixed bag, but it is a mixture of wonderful stuff put together with considerable expertise. Marc-Antoine Charpentier was a major composer of the French Baroque, served at the Sainte-Chappelle in Paris, and wrote much music of solemnity and grandeur, but was also principal composer for the Comedie Française where he wrote music of a lighter nature. What we get here is mainly the latter, more directly entertaining Charpentier, and we get it in the forms of airs serieux, which are refined songs intended for court circles, and airs a boire, in a more popular style.

William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - François Couperin: Leçons de Ténèbres (1998)

Posted By: ArlegZ
William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - François Couperin: Leçons de Ténèbres (1998)

William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - François Couperin: Leçons de Ténèbres (1998)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 232 Mb | Total time: 47:12 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Erato | # 0630-17067-2 | Recorded: 1996

It figures that the ensemble most responsible for the French Baroque revival is the one to outdo Nelson and Kirkby's legendary recording of these lamentation settings. Sophie Daneman and Patricia Petibon don't have the earlier pair's gorgeous, distinctive voices (both occasionally wobble above the staff), but they sound plenty beautiful. More importantly, they've managed to make these major-key pieces sound like lamentations. Twenty years ago, Kirkby and Nelson were pioneers: merely singing with their white tone was risky; they couldn't take many chances with rhythmic freedom.

William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - Michel Pignolet de Montéclair: Jephté (2002)

Posted By: ArlegZ
William Christie, Les Arts Florissants  - Michel Pignolet de Montéclair: Jephté (2002)

William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - Michel Pignolet de Montéclair: Jephté (2002)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 629 Mb | Total time: 70:09+79:21 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Harmonia Mundi | HMX 2901424.25 | Recorded: 1992

"Jephte" was Monteclair's second and final stage work, a lyric tragedy written when he was 65 and apparently the first Biblical opera produced in France since the mystery plays. The influences on Rameau's stage works music are readily apparent: the canny use of orchestral color for dramatic purposes, vivid musical characterization, infectiously lively dance music, and, above all, inspired and stirring choral writing.

Nicholas Kraemer, Raglan Baroque Players - Handel: Rodelinda (1998)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Nicholas Kraemer, Raglan Baroque Players - Handel: Rodelinda (1998)

Nicholas Kraemer, Raglan Baroque Players - Handel: Rodelinda (1998)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 720 Mb | Total time: 60:36+58:18+54:02 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Virgin Veritas | 5 452772 2 | Recorded: 1996

Rodelinda was the first of Handel's operas to be revived in modern times (at Gottingen, in 1920) and the first to be performed in the USA (at Smith College, Northampton. Massachusetts, in 1931), and this summer it adds to its laurels the distinction of being the first Handel opera (as opposed to oratorio) to be staged at Glyndebourne. Composed just after Giulio Cesare and Tamerlano, it must, I think, rank in many people's top half-dozen of the Handel operas, with its complex plot of dynastic intrigue revolving around the powerful, steadfast love of Bertarido (the ousted king of Milan) and his queen Rodelinda: just the kind that unfailingly drew strong music from Handel.

Richard Hickox, Collegium Musicum 90 - Vivaldi: Ottone in villa (1998)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Richard Hickox, Collegium Musicum 90 - Vivaldi: Ottone in villa (1998)

Richard Hickox, Collegium Musicum 90 - Vivaldi: Ottone in villa (1998)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 663 Mb | Total time: 75:54+68:47 | Digital booklet
Classical | Label: Chandos | # CHAN 0614(2) | Recorded: 1997

This, Vivaldi's very first opera, was premièred in Vicenza in 1713 and was an instant hit. The story is a relatively uncomplicated one by the standards of Baroque opera, of amatory pretences and misunderstandings: it has been admirably summarised by Eric Cross (who has edited the work) as a 'light-weight, amoral entertainment in which the flirtatious Cleonilla consistently has the upper hand, and gullible Emperor Ottone (a far from heroic figure) never discovers the truth about the way he has been deceived'. The score proceeds in a succession of secco recitatives (with just a very occasional accompagnato) and da capo arias – which the present cast ornament very stylishly.

William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - Charpentier: Les Plaisirs de Versailles - Pastoraletta (1996)

Posted By: ArlegZ
William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - Charpentier: Les Plaisirs de Versailles - Pastoraletta (1996)

William Christie, Les Arts Florissants - Charpentier: Les Plaisirs de Versailles - Pastoraletta (1996)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 265 Mb | Total time: 52:47 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Erato | # 0630-14774-2 | Recorded: 1996

Charpentier (1643-1704) is best known for his religious works and the opera "Medée". He also wrote a number of chamber music works (instrumental and vocal) of which three were released on CD. "Les plaisiers de Versailles H.480" is described as an opera-like divertimento. Actually an opera with only one act that takes about half an hour. This work was intended for performance in Versailles within the palace to entertain the king. "Airs sur les stances du cid H.457-459" are three 'airs sérieux', songs for solo voice with basso continuo accompaniment. These airs are set on texts from Corneille's drama "Le cid". "Amor vince ogni cosa H.492" is a dramatic pastoral; a small cantata with a pastoral character for five voices that mainly function as a shepherd's chorus and comment on the events. They have not inherited their own character yet. The accompaniment is Italian as well: two violins and basso continuo. Of course, the love between shepherds and shepherdesses plays the most important role, assisted by Pan, god of the shepherds.