Les Arts Florissants / William Christie

Le Jardin de Monsieur Rameau

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This ebullient release makes an ideal introduction to the French music of the middle 18th century, which is very easy to kill off with stodgy performances. The title Le Jardin de Monsieur Rameau has several connotations. It refers to the musical surroundings of the preeminent composer of the day, Jean-Philippe Rameau, and to Le Jardin des Voix, an ensemble of young singers connected with the French Baroque specialist ensemble Les Arts Florissants and its American-French director, William Christie. Yet again the title alludes to a garden where the present program was performed live, and which is the subject of a booklet-length prose piece, included, by French fiction writer Adrien Goetz. The live performance was partially staged, but it transfers quite well to the recorded medium, with its various sound effects intact and the enthusiasm of the young singers admirably putting the music across. Devotees of this music will be interested to hear the new generations of performers coming down the pike. Those with some familiarity will enjoy the presence of some little-known music by the likes of Antoine Dauvergne and Nicolas Racot de Grandval along with Rameau and Gluck. And nearly all listeners will enjoy the coherent scenes that allow the development of the characters, who are in several memorable cases comic ones. Hear Grandval's satirical portrayal of an overambitious performer (track 6). The live sound is unusually good, and the whole production testifies to the continuing creativity of one of the legendary Baroque historical-performance groups. Highly recommended.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:52
2 3:21
3 1:44
Hercule mourant
4 4:01
Hippolyte & Aricie
5 4:21
6 9:15
La Vénitienne
7 1:02
8 3:06
9 3:05
L'Ivrogne corrigé
10 1:39
11 2:17
12 1:21
L'Ivrogne corrigé
13 2:09
14 0:34
L'Ivrogne corrigé
15 1:31
L'Europe alante
16 4:05
17 2:54
18 2:35
19 4:21
20 3:27
Les Fêtes d'Hébé
21 1:51
22 2:32
23 3:57
24 2:18
25 4:09
26 2:13
27 2:21
Les Indes galantes
28 2:49
blue highlight denotes track pick