Search - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, William Christie, Patricia Petibon :: Charpentier - La Descente d'Orphee aux Enfers / Petibon, Daneman, Zanetti, Agnew, Gardeil, Les Arts Florissants, Christie

Charpentier - La Descente d'Orphee aux Enfers / Petibon, Daneman, Zanetti, Agnew, Gardeil, Les Arts Florissants, Christie
Marc-Antoine Charpentier, William Christie, Patricia Petibon
Charpentier - La Descente d'Orphee aux Enfers / Petibon, Daneman, Zanetti, Agnew, Gardeil, Les Arts Florissants, Christie
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #1

The myth of Orpheus--the divine musician who went to Hades to rescue his bride Eurydice from the dead and whose song actually persuaded Pluto to release her--has been irresistible to operatic composers from Monteverdi to...  more »

      
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Amazon.com
The myth of Orpheus--the divine musician who went to Hades to rescue his bride Eurydice from the dead and whose song actually persuaded Pluto to release her--has been irresistible to operatic composers from Monteverdi to Offenbach. One of the happiest rediscoveries of the Baroque revival is this lovely one-act chamber opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, which combines the gentle lilt typical of French Baroque music with the beautiful melodies and delicious suspensions in which Charpentier excelled. Charpentier diverged from the myth in one important respect: he omitted the tragic ending in which Orpheus loses Eurydice a second time, instead allowing the couple to live happily ever after. Orpheus is sung by Baroque tenor extraordinaire Paul Agnew, whose pure, sweet, and flexible singing would convince Pluto to release the dead from Hell if anyone's could. Sophie Daneman, Monique Zanetti, Patricia Petibon, and Jean-François Gardeil head a cast without a single weak link; the instrumentalists of Les Arts Florissants are as skillful and sensitive as always. If you want to sample French Baroque opera at its best without investing in a three- or four-disc set, you can do no better than this. --Matthew Westphal
 

CD Reviews

Even unfinished, it's a masterpiece
gks5q@virginia.edu | 07/18/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Some people in London (read the review below) apparently think that unfinished masterpieces of French baroque are not even worth performing. Well, I'm a diehard Charpentier fan who doesn't think so. Charpentier has a special musical language, unique even among other French composers of the period, and far superior to most other baroque composers who've filled the pages with their endless and boring da capo arias and barren recitatives. There is no such thing as a regular recitative and a regular aria when it comes to Charpentier: his music is through-composed and stylistically taut. Thanks to Lully, Charpentier's music never got much credit during the composer's lifetime, and, by inertia, ever since. Thanks to Christie, Charpentier's music is now being restored to its rightful position of glory. I'd tell that guy in London (see below) that Charpentier is better than a hundred Clerambaults. It is hard to imagine a more persuasive case for Charpentier than this fabulous recording. Paul Agnew's performance of Orphee is priceless."
What a shame Act 3 was lost
HSIEH CHENG CHUNG | 07/11/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Charpentier was arguably the most talented French Composer during the years of the Sun King, but was sidelined by the politically savvy Italian born Lully, and as a result we have many sacred pieces, but only one secular opera - Medee, and a few divertissments and ballets. What we have here is the first CD recording of one of these smaller domestic divertissments - based on the ever-popular Orfeo legend. Unfortunately however Act 3 was lost and Christie here presents the truncated first 2 acts. As you'd expect Christie and his soloists are flawless - This is just as good as any of Christie's recordings since joining the Erato label.Other recordings of Charpentier's secular music include Les Arts Florrisants (the piece from which Christie's ensemble took its name) on the budget HMA label, La Malade Imaginaire on HMC, Le Pierre Philosophal on Erato, and an ongoing series by Gary Cooper on ASV."
Baroque music of breath-taking harmony and beauty
gks5q@virginia.edu | 01/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This CD should be given out for free to all culturally challenged people to awaken their sense of beauty. This medieval opera (unfortunetaly unfinished) is one unending inspiration, so melodious and dynamic that even the most casual listeners are bound to enjoy it. William Christie, a passionate interpreter of Charpentier, has achieved yet another triumph. Paul Agnew, with his amazing flute-like voice, gives a memorable performance as Orphee."