Baroque virtuosi Il Giardino Armonico prove how exciting original instruments can be by clearing out the intellectual and sensuous ballast that a work accumulates over the centuries to allow it to sparkle in its genuine colours. With wide screen picture format (16:9) and digital surround sound audio quality, this film not only proves the quality and versatility of the ensemble, but also manages to serve baroque music to a 21st century audience using state-of-the-art video technology.
Ombre de mon amant is Anne Sofie von Otter's first recording of these French Baroque Arias–graceful, temperamental tunes which will delight her fans and thrill Baroque music cognoscenti. Von Otter's mastery of diverse musical genres, crystalline diction and exquisite musicality empower her interpretations of French repertoire. Her celebrated Offenbach album and album of rarities by Chaminade are previous examples of her success in the French repertory. Every bit a woman of the theater as she is of song, von Otter embodies Charpentier's Médée and Rameau's Phèdre in Hippolyte et Aricie in the grand manner in which they were surely performed originally. Von Otter is partnered by William Christie and his matchless ensemble, Les Arts Florissants, who bring exuberant energy and theatrical flair to every track.
With so much excellent work over the years from MAK, this relatively early jewel has often been overlooked. Music by minor masters this may be but Goebel and his high-powered team are at their persuasive best. (L. K., Gramophone, Sept. 2007)
The lighter music of the splendid French Baroque remains in need of greater exposure, making this disc of cantatas by the young Jean-Philippe Rameau and André Campra a welcome arrival. Here is some of the music the royals and aristocrats heard not in halls of opera and ballet but in more intimate surroundings, for amusement, with one or two singers and a small instrumental grouping.