It is only recently that the cantata Ariane consolated by Bacchus was attributed to Couperin, on the strength of many technical details too complex to be unrolled, but perfectly convincing. It is therefore a kind of first world discography of a work of this great composer that Christophe Rousset gives us, with the superb voice of Stéphane Degout whose impeccable speech allows to understand absolutely every word. There follow two immense apotheoses of the same, that of Corelli dated 1724 and that of Lully of the following year. These are very ample instrumental suites in the style of, with quotations, allusions, jokes of all kinds, in a quasi-theatrical and very descriptive writing approaching a kind of programmed music.
Here is a recording that at last does justice to the extraordinary music of Hotteterre. Hotteterre's music is surely some of the most lyrical and melodic music ever written for the transverse flute. It some of the first music ever written to feature the instrument. Dupré breathes new life into these three suites, which are both joyous and dark. The color produced by the skilled combination and variance of harpsichord, viola ga gamba, and theorbo playing the continuo part is fantastic. This is a superlative recording, worthy of a price many times what it is. I have heard several recordings of these suites, and this is certainly the best.
Although the Crusaders could not have known it at the time, their recording of "Street Life" (which features a memorable vocal by Randy Crawford) was a last hurrah for the 20-year old group. Their recordings of the next few years would decline in interest until the band gradually faded away in the '80s. However this particular set is well worth picking up for the 11-minute title cut and there is good playing by the three original members (Wilton Felder on tenor, soprano and electric bass, keyboardist Joe Sample and drummer Stix Hooper) along with guitarist Barry Finnerty; horn and string sections, plus additional guitarists are utilized on Sample's commercial but listenable arrangements.
Three 20th-century orchestral scores, Bartók’s Two Pictures, Debussy’s Jeux and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, all dating from 1910-13 and all linked (as the detailed CD booklet explains), are brought to life in the hands of two exceptional French pianists. The central interest is the ballet Jeux. One of the world’s outstanding Debussy interpreters, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has added to his complete Chandos recordings with his own transcription for two pianos. Written late in Debussy’s life for Nijinsky, Jeux involves an emotionally erotic and harmonically daring game of tennis. Bavouzet and his well-matched partner, François-Fréderic Guy, play with nimble grace, capturing the works wit and mystery. This gripping album is dedicated to Pierre Boulez, guru and enabler, for his 90th birthday.
This beautiful recording, once long out-of-print, is now remastered in high definition multi-channel hybrid SACD, and is the first album made by Jordi Savall for the Astrée label, now reissued on Alia Vox. With this rare 1975 disc, Savall confirmed François Couperin as a master composer for viola da gamba with affinities to the previous masters of French music. On the recording Mr. Savall plays an authentic 7-string bass viol, anonymously constructed in 17th century France. He is joined by musicians Ton Koopman playing a Gilbert des Ruisseaux harpsichord built in the late 17th century and Ariane Maurette playing a Barak Norman bass viol constructed in London in 1697. Couperin’s music for these colorful instruments is marvelous, contemplative and beguiling. The highly collectible album, a must-have of the Savall oeuvre, is now available again and features a very informative booklet.
Marrying stage ‘drama’ and chamber ‘concert’, this début album from Les Surprises draws on 18th century French opera. Exploring a dynamic repertoire variously familiar and forgotten, bringing theatre into the salon, these enlightened, intimate arrangements will astonish, inspire and surprise.