L’histoire entre Les talens Lyriques, Christophe Rousset et Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) est l’histoire d’une réussite. Les sept disques (Persée, Roland, Armide, Amadis, Phaéton, Bellérophon et cet Alceste) du compositeur d'origine italienne naturalisé français enregistrés par l’ensemble et le chef et claveciniste Français sont tous un véritable succès critique. En quelques années, Les talens Lyriques et Christophe Rousset sont passés maître du style et de l’écriture Lulliste au point d’être devenus un (le ?) véritable intournable du genre.
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.
Armida abbandonata is one of Niccolo Jommelli's finest operas. It was the first he composed after returning to Naples from his triumphant years in Stuttgart (1754-1769), receiving its first performance at the Teatro San Carlo on May 30, 1770. Among those who attended was the 14-year old Mozart, whose report that Armida was "beautiful, but too serious and old-fashioned for the theater," has been frequently quoted and almost as frequently misunderstood. "The theater" almost certainly refers specifically to the San Carlo, which did indeed find Armida "too serious," in the sense of its harmonic and orchestral complexity, ironically a criticism Mozart himself would later encounter in Vienna.