These little-known works by Rameau are solo (and in one case duo) cantatas in the Italian manner, with alternating recitatives and arias, and a flexible language that encompasses both fiery Italianate singing and measured French expression according to the needs of the text. They date from the 1720s, prior to Rameau's operatic masterpieces, and it may be assumed from the composer's later advice to others to do similarly that he wrote them as dry runs for the larger operatic form. They are light pastoral pieces, one of them with a unique vein of comedy: the idea of the titular Les Amants trahis is that two dumped guys complain about their bad luck with their former girlfriends, one of them sadly, the other in a mocking tone. Bass-baritone Philippe Sly and soprano Hélène Guilmette (the part was originally for a countertenor) do not quite get the full force of this, but Sly, really the star of the show here, has an attractive voice that manages to achieve its full distinctiveness within the small dimensions of these pieces. Energetic harpsichordist Luc Beauséjour leads a small group of young Quebec musicians in clean, elegant accompaniments. Those interested in the still largely under-examined question of Rameau's compositional development will be rewarded here.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Les Amants Trahis|
|Aquilon et Orithie|
|Le Berger Fidèle|