Following in their series of Gramophone Award and BBC Music Magazine Award winning recordings, Gabrieli’s first Handel recording in over a decade is particularly special – recreating in painstaking detail the very first performance of L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, given in 1740, with additional instrumental repertoire including a Handel organ concerto and two concerti grossi. With a reputation as peerless Handelians, Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort & players bring meticulous research to every performance and recording project, and are joined on this disc by a stunning selection of soloists.
'Titon et l'Aurore' is an opera in three acts and a prologue by the French composer Jean-Joseph de Mondonville which was first performed at the Académie royale de musique, Paris on 9 January 1753. The authorship of the libretto has been subject to debate; Mondonville's contemporaries ascribed the prologue to Antoine Houdar de la Motte and the three acts of the opera to the Abbé de La Marre. Titon et l'Aurore belongs to the genre known as the pastorale héroïque. The work played an important role in the so-called Querelle des Bouffons, a dispute over the relative merits of the French and Italian operatic traditions which dominated the intellectual life of Paris in the early 1750s. The tremendous success of Mondonville's opera at its premiere was an important victory for the French camp (although their Italian rivals claimed that this was because they had been excluded from their seats by members of the army). Titon was one of Mondonville's most popular works and went on to enjoy several revivals during his lifetime.
Modern scholars began to investigate possible links between polychoral techniques and the practice of spatial positioning of performaers after realizing the extent to which composers in the 1600s were influenced by the architectural spaces they were coposing for, and by the concept of space in terms of an actual physical dimension whose every detail they could explore and relate to.
Michel McLean (guitar, ex-Les Karrik) and Pierre Moreau write most of the music for L'Engoulevent, and the core band is completed by Francoise Turcotte (violin) and Russel Cagnon (cello). They are aided by a number of musicians from Conventum, as well as McLean's old Les Karrik cohort Claude LaFrance on one track. Their first album was entitled "L'Ile Ou Vivent Les Loups", and was released on the Le Tamanour label in 1977. Roughly half the tracks are instrumental, and the vocal tracks are done in a folk style but are not traditional pieces. Perhaps because half the core band is employed on string instruments, there is both an exquisite beauty and contrapuntal richness to much of the music…
The Passion according to St John as recorded here is a rather simple work. The Passions written by Italian composers are in no way comparable to the Passions which were written in Germany. This was the direct result of the reforms of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) which ordered settings of the Passion story to be simple, using only the text of the Gospels without any free poetic addition. So this Passion isn't much different from the Passions written in the renaissance. It is also part of a tradition in Naples, performing the St John Passion on Good Friday. The best-known example is Alessandro Scarlatti's St John Passion, written about 100 years earlier.
This is an attractive programme of comparatively rare vocal repertoire. Airs de cour by Charpentier (including verses from Corneille’s Le Cid) and Lambert are interpersed with instrumental movements from Couperin’s Les Nations. Cyril Auvity is an experienced advocate of the haute-contre repertoire and draws on all that experience to engage fully with the texts of these miniature dramas. His tone in the higher register can verge on the harsh, though this is a rare event.
Inspired by George Orwell's bleak '1984' novel, "1984: L'Ultimo Uomo d'Europa" ("1984: The Last Man in Europe") explodes with dark symphonic atmospheres and wild energetic outbursts with a welcome dirty production by way of a battery of vintage keyboards, buzzsaw-like guitars and passionate ravishing vocals. Sounding very much like the second coming of Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Il Balletto di Bronzo and Biglietto per l'Inferno with a dash of Cervello, it makes a huge musical statement in the same way that modern debut albums like 'La Crudelta di Aprile' by the youthful Unreal City and 'In Hoc Signo' by Ingranaggi Della Valle did in recent years, and it's the absolute standout R.P.I/Italian prog release of 2015, perhaps already a true modern classic by those lucky to have discovered it.
Le Peuple de l'Herbe is a French band playing electronic music, afrobeat and dub.
An extraordinary enterprise … As an experience of the sounds and styles of French organ culture this boxed set, it seems to me, is indispensable … the body of music is mostly, here, not created but simply made alive by the apt choice of instruments … it is a resource to which to return with delight.