This recording of the Poème Harmonique revitalizes Charpentier's and Lully's Te Deum, two magnificent pieces of sacred music celebrating the Sun King's victory and recovery. Lully, who was of Italian origin, found the essence and style of French art, while Charpentier gave the emotion and composition methods he had learned from the Italians to the music of his country. This is the story of two musicians, two countries, two aesthetics, and two fundamental stakes. Lully became a lauded composer, outshining Charpentier and relegating him to an undeserved subpar position.
The first volume of Tempesta di Mare's series on Chandos, Comédie et Tragédie, offers period-style performances of orchestral music by Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Féry Rebel, and Marin Marais. The orchestral suites drawn from Lully's music for Le bourgeois gentilhomme, Rebel's symphonie nouvelle Les élémens, and Marais' suite from the tragédie en musique Alcyone give a taste of theater music in the court of Louis XIV and Louis XV, and these pieces show how inventive composers were with instrumentation and their combinations of dances with dramatic scene painting. Tempesta di Mare, which is also known as the Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra, gives bright and energetic performances, and the musicians have a fine sense of the swung rhythms, distinctive tone colors, and lively ornamentation in French Baroque music. The recording is clear and well-balanced, though the percussion in Lully's March for the Turkish Ceremony (track 4) is a bit startling, and the dissonant opening of Rebel's Le Chaos (track 13) has its own shock value. Highly recommended.
For any enthusiast of Baroque music, the production of Lully's Armide at the Theatre des Champs Elysées, directed by William Christie and staged by Robert Carsen, was an exceptional event. The last and most successful collaboration between Lully and his librettist Quinault, Armide is the ideal of the genre as desired by Louis XIV: a tragic opera that achieves the perfect fusion of music, song and dance. William Christie leads the orchestra and chorus of Les Arts Florissants and a dazzling cast. Stephanie D’Oustrac is the imperious sorceress Armida, overcome by the violence of a forbidden passion.
Lully's Atys was so dear to Louis XIV that it became known as the "the King's opera." With its unprecedented dramatic intensity, Atys was the first opera to feature a plot that revolved around love and the first French tragedy to kill off its lead character on stage. The opera was revived in 1985 when the Opéra de Paris called on William Christie and the director Jean-Marie Villégier to stage a celebration of the tercentenary of Lully's death. Resurrected from the ashes, Atys was a key factor in the revival of French baroque music. In 2011, the Opéra Comique once again presented Atys, and that production was filmed by FRA Musica for posterity.
Jean-Baptiste Lully (French pronunciation: [ʒã.ba.tist ly.li]; Italian: Giovanni Battista Lulli; 28 November 1632 – 22 March 1687) was a Florentine-born French composer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered the chief master of the French baroque style. Lully disavowed any Italian influence in French music of the period. He became a French subject in 1661…
The musical world owes a debt of gratitude to French conductor Christophe Rousset not only for the vital, exquisite performances he delivers with the ensembles Les Talens Lyriques and Choeur de Chambre de Namur, but for his work in bringing to light neglected masterpieces of Baroque opera. Lully's Bellérophon, premiered in 1679, was a huge success in its time, with an initial run of nine months. Part of its popularity was doubtless due to the parallels that could be drawn between its plot and certain recent exploits of Louis XV, but even the earliest critics recognized the score's uniqueness and exceptional quality within Lully's oeuvre, so it's perhaps surprising that it has never been recorded before. The distinctiveness of the music was likely a result at least in part of the fact that Lully's preferred librettist Philippe Quinault was out of favor at the court of Louis XV at the time, so the composer turned to Thomas Corneille for the libretto, and Corneille's literary and dramatic styles were so different from Quinault's that Lully was nudged out of his comfort zone and had to develop new solutions to questions of structure and the marrying of music to text.
Twenty-four years ago, William Christie and Les Arts Florissants premièred Jean-Baptiste Lully s opera Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris. It was a smashing success, and marked a pivotal moment in the history of period performance practice. Christie became a tireless champion of the music of Lully and helped rehabilitate the composer s once stodgy reputation. In Armide, the tragédie en musique (a genre that Lully and his librettist Quinault jointly invented) reaches its peak of emotional and musical expression. Robert Carsen s highly acclaimed 2008 production of Armide at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées rekindled interest in French Baroque music. On this new video from FRA Musica, filmed at the Château de Versailles, Carsen and stage director Jean-Claude Gallotta present an opulent and powerful vision of Lully s poignant masterpiece.