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Charpentier - Les Plaisirs de Versailles / Christie
Marc-Antoine Charpentier, William Christie, Les Arts Florissants
Charpentier - Les Plaisirs de Versailles / Christie
Genres: Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #1


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CD Reviews

hcf | 10/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I meant to write a review of this recording when I first got it, but somehow never got around to it. Then I listened to this CD again and got reminded how good it really was. This is an example of quintessential Les Arts Florissants, a group that is best known for their eye-opening recordings of French baroque repertoir. In fact, their very name derives from an eponymous French masque by M-A Charpentier. The CD contains a delightful selection of several of Charpentier's small-scale pieces. The crown jewel is the song cycle Airs sur les Stances du Cid, superbly sung by Paul Agnew. Agnew's voice, naturally expressive and capable of effortlessly soaring high notes, is exactly the kind of voice to do justice to this haute-contre piece. The other two works on this CD are short masques. Les Plaisirs de Versailles (possibly composed for the performance at the king's apartments) is an allegorical contest between Music and Conversation each of whom argues that she is more important to human pleasure. The clever, often tongue-in-cheek, musical writing is given the most idiomatic expression imaginable. Amor Vince Ogni Cosa is an Italianate pastorale, with the usual shepherds and shepherdesses receiving a lesson in love from Pan. Despite the lightness of message, the pastorale is superb musically. Its opening duet in nimble Italianate thirds, and the closing five-part chorus are especially memorable."
Mechanical noises spoil an otherwise-excellent disc.
Gary J. Wright | San Francisco, CA United States | 09/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It is rare that I would give a Christie disc less than top marks. However, there is an unacceptable amount of distracting "clicking" marring the title piece of this CD. This is especially disconcerting if listening on headphones. I assume it is a closely-miked and mechanically-troublesome wind instrument that is to blame, but it is so repetitious, it spoils the enjoyment of several of the 14 tracks making up the beautiful "Les Plaisirs De Versailles."
Fortunately, the other two works do not suffer a similar fate. The relatively brief "Airs Sur Les Stances Du Cid" is very attractive and is sung by the excellent Paul Agnew.
The final piece, "Amor Vince Ogni Cosa," is splendidly realized, with all the attributes we normally expect from Christie and his team.
A pity that this CD must be marked down by one star due to the irritating noises that dilute the pleasures of the early part of the disc."