One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764)
Anacréon (1754)
Anacréon – Matthew Brook (bass)
Chloé – Anna Dennis (soprano)
Batile – Agustin Prunell-Friend (tenor)
The Choir of the Enlightenment
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Jonathan Williams
rec. All Saints Church, East Finchley, UK, 2014
World premiere recording

Rameau wrote not one but two Anacréon operas, though they have neither music nor text in common. This 1754 one is an opéra-ballet, a peculiarly French form that Rameau was making his own. The music was all but lost before it was reconstructed by Jonathan Williams from fragments of manuscripts scattered across some Parisian libraries. It is, therefore, a labour of love for him to be able to record it here, and the care with which he shapes the score is, perhaps, the best thing about this recording. The orchestral texture is beautifully realised, utterly characteristic and disarmingly French-sounding, down to the lovely swooping sound of the horns, or the flute that decorates several of the arias praising the outdoors, like Chloe’s Tendre Amour. The dances, such an intrinsic part of this format, are delightful; delicately sprung and full of blithe lightness, so that they jump out of the speakers in a most exciting manner. There is an indefinable sophistication to the OAE sound here that bears comparison with Les Arts Florissants - high praise in repertoire like this.

The opera itself is far from thrilling, its “story” revolving around the rather staid efforts of the poet Anacreon to get his charges, Chloe and Bathyllus, to realise that they are in love. This they duly do, without much fuss, and some dancing ensues, to the general delight of all. The finest of the singers is Anna Denis’ Chloé, who is full of wide-eyed innocence but marries this with a gloriously refulgent tone. There is a haunting, luxurious quality to her voice that I found utterly beguiling, and her singing is a joy throughout. Matthew Brook is on the gruff side as Anacréon himself and, like Agustin Prunell-Friend, you can tell that he isn’t French, for all the effort he puts into his diction. Prunell-Friend is also a little weedy of tone as Batile, which is a shame, as much of his music is lyrical and winning. Still, the ear attunes to it as the performance progresses, and the considerable benefits of the orchestral and choral colour certainly help.

If you’re interested in the opera, this is your only choice, and is likely to remain so for quite some time. Full texts and translations are included, as well as a very informative introductory essay by Jonathan Williams himself.

Simon Thompson



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month



From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience