> Jean-Baptiste Lully - Les Divertissements de Versailles [KM]: Classical CD Reviews- July2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1623-1687)
Les Divertissements de Versailles

1. Prelude pour les trompetes
2. Chantons les plaisirs charmants
3. Quittons notre vaine querelle
4. Chantons tous de l'Amour
5. Enfin il est en ma puissance
6. Chere Climene, dis-moi
7. Je vous aime, Nymphe charmante & Plainte du Dieu Pan
8. Duo des Nymphes
9. Laisse-nous en repos, Philene
10. L'hiver qui nous tourmente
11. Que le feu des forges s'allume
12. Trop indiscret Amour
13. Ah! J'attendrai longtemps
14. Armide, vous m'allez quitter/Passacaille
Sophie Daneman, soprano
Emmanuelle Halimi, soprano
Isabelle Obadia, soprano
Rinat Shaham, soprano
Paul Agnew, countertenor
Cyril Auvity, countertenor
Boris Grappe, baritone-bass
François Bazola, bass
Olivier Lallouette, bass
Choeur et Orchestre Les Arts Florissants, William Christie
Rec: January 2002, espace de projection de l’IRCAM, Paris.
ERATO 0927-44655-2 [78.04]


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William Christie and Les Arts Florissants recently performed a series of concerts of music from Lully’s ballets. This anthology was an interesting selection of sections from Lully’s different works, with no true link between them other than the beauty of the music. This disc presents this music, "a unique journey through Jean-Baptiste Lully’s works for music theatre spanning his creative life at the court of the Sun King."

While discs like this, which are mere selections from different works, can often be boring because they are little more than best-ofs, this recording has a surprising unity. Perhaps it is Lully’s music itself, which is very similar from one work to another, but it is also, in part, the brilliant choice of excerpts and the order in which they are performed. The listener has a feeling of listening to a self-contained work, rather than a series of selections.

The overall impression of this disc is very good indeed, and is all the more interesting for listeners unfamiliar with Lully’s music. From brilliantly sung arias, such as Venez, secondez mes desires from Armide, to moving instrumental music, as in the passacaille, also from Armide, that closes this disc, William Christie deserves credit for his judicious selection of music and the excellent musicians he works with, as always.

There is little fat on this rich disc - with 78 minutes of excellent music, there is no way you will go wrong. Whether you are a fan of French baroque music or merely curious, this selection is an excellent and delightful disc. Kudos to Christie for again providing us with such wonderful music.

Kirk McElhearn

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