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.