Among the finest performers of early music and arbiters of period practices, Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques turn their attention here to the composer whose work inspired the ensemble's name and purpose. In this 2000 disc devoted to the music of Jean-Philippe Rameau, Rousset and his ensemble turn in vigorous and appealing performances that present Rameau's music in a new light. The chaste and sometimes severe Pièces de clavecin en concerts are dramatically transformed in these sumptuous versions for string orchestra and continuo.
In November 1772, as the 16-year-old Mozart was preparing to astonish the Milanese with his third operatic work for the Teatro Regio Ducal, his older contemporary, Tommaso Traetta (1727–79) from the Puglia region of Italy, was presenting the premiere of his second opera for the court of Catherine the Great in St Petersburg. Today, the former’s Lucio Silla is probably better known than the latter’s Antigona. But which is the finer work? On the basis of this outstanding new recorded version, I would say that Traetta’s tragedia per musica in three acts far outclasses Mozart’s opera seria for its consistent musical inspiration and sheer theatrical know-how. If Traetta’s music were at all familiar to opera-lovers today, that would not be so surprising because this contemporary and disciple of Gluck was, by 1772, an experienced composer for the theatre, already in the prime of a life that was to end, prematurely, only seven years later. His career had taken him from the conservatory in Naples to that city’s famous San Carlo, where his first commission in 1751 was Il Farnace. From there he travelled throughout Europe.
The Baroque music ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, under Christophe Rousset's baton, performs Rameau's Les Indes galantes at the Opéra National de Bordeaux in a sensual and politically engaged production directed by Laura Scozzi, on the occasion of the festivities organized to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Jean-Philippe Rameau's death.
This welcome mid-priced reissue of Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques 1994 Fnac Music recording of Handel s Scipione features a cast of stellar singers. Their scintillating performance was universally praised upon its initial release, and this version remains the only available recording. Scipione is an opera in three acts based on a libretto by Paolo Antonio Rolli, composed for the Royal Academy of Music in 1726. It was based upon the life of Roman General Scipio Africanus. Handel revived the opera in 1730, but it did not receive another production until 1967. Christophe Rousset and his band play gorgeously and with great energy.–Classics Today