William Christie

Le Jardin des Voix

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This CD is a bit misleadingly packaged on the front cover; the back makes it clear that this is not a CD by conductor William Christie's usual collective Les Arts Florissants, but by L'académie des Arts Florissants pour les jeunes chanteurs, the group's academy for young performers. The singers featured here are the next generation of Les Arts Florissants, selected by audition from among a field of more than 200, and certainly the concerts from which this live disc was drawn constituted another audition in themselves. The disc testifies to Christie's dominant position in the world of French Baroque dramatic music -- could any other conductor, even with a completely different specialty, get away with issuing a disc like this? Can you imagine the outcry if Karajan had done so? Nevertheless, this is a generally pleasing collection of music. Christie matched each young performer or group of performers to music that would show them all at their best, and there's enthusiasm to spare here. Listen to soprano Amel Brahim-Djelloul in the playing-with-vocal-fire aria "Al chiaror di que' bei rai" from Mozart's Ascanio in Alba, track 11, or to the ensemble hilarity in the Bickersons-like marital masque at the end of track 1, attached to Purcell's The Indian Queen. Older performers might not have pulled that off so loosely. Too, the CD as a whole works nicely as a survey of Christie's current interests, with some unusual corners of the Baroque repertory showing up next to the Rameau, Charpentier, and Handel that have long been his specialties. You get a sample of an opera based on Tom Jones by André Danican Philidor, eighteenth century composer and chess champion, for example. The disc as a whole also offers a taste of Christie's exquisitely authentic Baroque performances without having to plunk down multiple bills for an entire opera. All in all, this disc is recommended for concert promoters or anyone else interested in spotting the early-music vocal stars of tomorrow.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
The Indian Queen, semi-opera, Z. 630
1 13:56
La catena d'Adone, opera
2 06:11
Un Peccator pentito, oratorio for 5 voices, 2 vioins, lute & basso continuo
3 05:44
4 06:57 Spotify
5 03:04 Spotify
Venus et Adonis, incidental music for 2 voices, strings & continuo, H. 507
6 07:53
Pygmalion, acte de ballet
7 03:42 Spotify
Énée et Didon, cantata
8 05:06
Radamisto, opera, HWV 12
9 04:06
Amadigi di Gaula, opera, HWV 11
10 08:38
Ascanio in Alba, opera, K. 111
11 03:31
Zémire et Azor, opera in 4 acts
12 03:56
Tom Jones, opera
13 03:15
blue highlight denotes track pick