Les Arts Florissants, one of the most influential and prolific ensembles in the world of authentic period performance, celebrates 30 years of achievement with this collection of its recordings for Virgin Classics. "With his superb period ensemble Les Arts Florissants, William Christie has brought the French Baroque, and other Baroques, to vivid life, at home, on tour and in recordings." -- New York Times The performing group Les Arts Florissants was founded in 1979 by William Christie, an American musician, trained at Harvard and Yale, who had been living in France for several years. He took the name of the group from a short opera written for Louis XIV by the French Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier. The group's major break - through came in 1987 with performances of Lully's Atys at the Opéra Comique in Paris, and since then Les Arts Florissants has played a major role in the resurgence of interest 17th and 18th century repertoire, in France and around the world. The group has given staged and concert performances of operas, choral music and other vocal works by composers such as Rameau, Couperin, Montéclair, Charpentier, Mondonville, Desmarest, Monteverdi, Landi, Rossi, Purcell, Handel, Gluck, Haydn, and Mozart. William Christie had the following to say about Virgin Classics' 30th-anniversary release: "This CD to mark the 30th anniversary of Les Arts Florissants brings together highlights from the recordings we have made for Virgin Classics since 2003. From Charpentier's Te Deum to Haydn's Creation by way of Purcell's Divine Hymns, Rossi's Peccator pentito and Handel's Serse, this selection illustrates the variety and richness of the repertoire I have approached with my ensemble over the last 30 years; it represents two centuries of music -- French, of course, but also Italian, English and German. Some of the composers represented here were almost forgotten 20 or 30 years ago, but now they are fully recognised, appreciated and celebrated. That Les Arts Florissants has contributed to their rediscovery is a matter of great satisfaction for me."