Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643 - February 24, 1704) was a French composer of the Baroque era.
He was a prolific and versatile composer, producing music of the highest quality in several genres. His mastery in the composition of sacred vocal music was recognized and acknowledged by his contemporaries.
While visually handsome, the amount of stage magic in this very commendable production of Lully's Persée (composed 1682) is fairly minimal: Mercure and Venus appear, appropriately enough, on elaborate flying clouds, but dramatic tension evaporates when Andromède is menaced by a sea monster that would not have been out of place in an episode of The Clangers. Musically there is much to admire: singing and playing are enjoyably idiomatic.
The work reflects the tendency of an age of changes which was torn between a nostalgia for the times of the reign of Louis XIV and the cult of modernity and progress. Thus, it overlays on the barely- altered Jean Racine text of Andromaque (1667) a music already suffused with Romantic aspirations where literally unheard-of tones and accents clothe the passions of the Classical Greek age in a new guise. Never performed again after its initial production Andromaque today reveals all the modernity of the French school on the eve of the French Revolution and imposes itself without doubt as one of the most singular and unexpected links between the Baroque and Romanticism.
First performed in Paris in 1747 – a time when the tragédie lyrique, the genre which Lully had brought to its peak, was already in evident decline – Daphnis et Chloé is a pastorale within which lurks a ballet with a bergère storyline, and which is blessed with a plot which, although mythological in content, is of great lightness; this neatly matched the taste of the nobility of the time and even more so that of Madame de Pompadour with its recreation of an idealized pastoral world… By then the taste for Boismortier’s music had gone stale… until now!
For his latest recording directing Le Concert Spirituel, Hervé Niquet has revived Sémélé by Marin Marais – the final opera by one of the leading composers from the reign of Louis XIV. Known above all for his compositions for the viola da gamba, Marais the composer was at the same time the author of a number of tragédies lyriques which he wrote for the Académie royale de Musique. Even to this day it has only been Alcyone which has attracted the attention of music lovers and musicians. Yet Sémélé – first performed in 1709 – arrives now full of music to charm and seduce the listener: a sparkling prologue honouring Bacchus, a set of arias with a freshly-minted appeal, a marvellously inventive diabolical scene, divertissements rich in character; all this leading up to an earthquake scene memorably anticipating the later work of Rameau. For all lovers of glorious baroque music, here is now the opportunity to discover and enjoy a masterpiece which has lain in theshadows for the last three centuries.
C’est à une véritable leçon de jazz que nus convie Antoine Hervé. Mais c’est bien plus que cela. Une sorte de déclaration d’amour à tous ses maîtres en piano jazz, au centre desquels il place Monk. Certes en s’attaquant en solo à l’œuvre de Monk (à l’exception d’un thème signé Irving Berlin et d’un thème de lui-même - Camara), Antoine Hervé prenait lors de ce concert donné en public en 1997 à la Cité de la Musique le risque de se voir comparer aux grands solos du Maître.
Renowned as a virtuoso jazz clarinetist and legendary bandleader, Benny Goodman is also remembered for the works he commissioned from leading composers of his day. Poulenc’s strikingly beautiful Clarinet Sonata was his last composition, while Bernstein’s was his first published piece. Both Gershwin and Stravinsky added their distinctive stamp to the swing vibe which was all the rage in the early 20th century. The jazz flavour of Morton Gould’s Benny’s Gig is heightened by the unusual coupling of clarinet and double bass, while pungent folk rhythms define Bartók’s virtuoso Contrasts.