Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Lully, Le Concert des Nations, Savall|
L'Orchestre Du Roi Soleil
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Jean-Baptiste Lully Comes Alive!
Ed Brickell | 11/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alert, committed performances of some fun and involving music: if you enjoy baroque orchestral works such as Bach's Brandenburg concerti, you're going to like this as well.Jordi Savall and his fine orchestra, Le Concert des Nations, are fully versed in the French baroque style and are quite adept at bringing out the emotion that lies just beneath the deceptively elegant surfaces of this music. The disc features three extended orchestral suites taken from Lully's operas. The inventiveness of Lully's orchestration creates a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of sounds, rhythms, emotions, and instrumental combinations.Warmly recorded, masterfully performed by one of the richest-sounding "period instrument" ensembles around. The wind and percussion sections are especially impressive. This a lively, lovely disc you'll find yourself playing quite often."
M. S. Tucker | Los Angeles, CA USA | 10/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was cluless as to what I was getting into with the purchase of this CD but I have to say that this is a truly amazing CD. I had been searching for music similar to that of the "Restoration" soundtrack and I had found that the Purcell CD's I had purchased, although wonderful, were in different arrangements and not quite the same.I found this CD by happenstance and read a little mit about Jean-Baptiste Lully and decided since I love anything to do with Louis XIV I would take a chance and purchase it.I adore this CD, I have nothing bad to say about it. It is the epitome of baroque next to Teleman although, lighter..airy. If you close your eyes, you are transported to the court of the Sun King!Worth every single penny!Vive La Lully!"
The Sun King's Most Beloved Composer Really Shines in this P
Octavius | United States | 10/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As the main reviewer mentions, the French Baroque style is completely original in its sound so that even one with little familiarity in Baroque styles will recognize instantly. Jean-Baptiste Lully's music is probably the most regal, warm, and literally gay of all the Baroque music composed in France, but also one of the least performed. Lully is actually a very underrated composer and this album is probably the best example of how underrated he has remained which is unfortunate because his work is highly original and as complex as any other contemporary Baroque work. Jordi Savall and Le Concert Des Nations are undisputably a very few the very best performers of French Baroque pieces and each use 17th-18th century authentic instruments. The recording quality of this album is also stupendous. This album is a gem for anyone looking to expand their horizons in Baroque music or curious about French Baroque specifically.
Jean-Baptiste Lully was actually of Italian origins and his French style was influenced in some parts by his native Italy but mostly by French Late Renaissance and very early Baroque folkloric styles. Lully was active in the mid-17th century in the court of Louis XIV, The Bourbon Sun King and founder of Versailles who, in addition to having reigned for about 75 years, was the greatest patron of the arts and sciences in Europe during his time. This is of course music for the Sun King and so the pieces usually have a regal Baroque weightiness to them in trying to portray the absolute monarch as the mighty Jove who appeared as thunder but who moved on in his royal procession as regally and lightly as a cloud. Such techniques in the strings were mostly imitated and refined by contemporaries and used in later German Baroque concerto works such those of Bach, Telemann, and Handel. This regal weightiness is also carried by a lot of brass but Lully always presents his brass arrangements lightly unlike his heavier German and especially English Baroque counterparts. Accentuating its classicist themes, the music simultaneously conveys both the typical aristocratic fluff of the Bourbon court as well as its weighty Olympian pageantry demonstrated in his Turkish procession. In other parts, some of the ballad pieces make one feel as if they have just left the stuffy aristocratic halls of Versailles to join some jovial musketeers merrily drinking in a common nearby tavern instead. Lully's music is highly unique, expressive, and generally jovial with a lot of tonality: he uses a lot of period dances for his pieces such as sarabandes, gavottes, etc. There's also a lot more use of the viola da gamba, lute, and various percussion than other contemporary Baroque pieces but somewhat typical in French ones. The most moving pieces in these arrangements might just be those for solo Baroque violin and lute or a small accompaniment: they are very expressive and as hauntingly beautiful and divine as any of Biber's comparable works or those of Marais. Lully was simply a genius in very evocative music that seemed to defy its own excess demands for pomp and frivolity. He is certainly one of the most innovate composers of the Baroque period. Lully is actually the main founder of both modern ballet and opera as forms of art which he first performed in the court of Versailles as distinctive musical repertoires incorporating theatrical and dance forms. Louis XIV was indeed so enamoured with Lully's majestic works that he ignored Cardinal Mazarin's resentments and France's own capital laws against homosexuality so that he could keep him under the patronage of his court. Although tragic, Lully's death is somewhat ironically as fatalistic as many of the classicist subjects of his ballets and operas: as if he had been a gifted muse who rendered Apollo jealous and so was struck down by Fate. While passionately conducting a piece using a heavy set staff weighing several pounds, he accidentally crushed his foot and died of gangrene soon after. He was an artist who died from his passion in a true sense and this is always a touching end for an artist in terms of posterity. He was replaced by Marin Marais as court composer whose pieces are also exquisitely performed by Jordi Savall solo on the viola and with Le Concert Des Nations for his orchestral works.
Lully was definitely an accomplished master of music and very original. A composer who is more obscure simply for the fact that he's not played as much as Bach or Vivaldi and that the French Baroque is not as common in performance circles. Lully however was certainly no less accomplished in his genius than any other of the great Baroque masters. Although many French composers such as Marais and Rameau would imitate his expressive style throughout the 18th century particularly in their operas and ballets, none of them could ever match it. In terms of French Baroque, I strongly recommend you get every piece you can by Jordi Savall and Le Concert Des Nations as they are few of the very foremost experts on performing in the French style. Another decent group is Les Arts Florrisants who have done various French Baroque performances. There are few other groups and artists that perform Lully or any French Baroque besides the latter anyway and most of them that do don't even compare to them. Their CDs are typically more expensive than the common labels and might have to be ordered but the quality of the performances and the recordings are really worth every penny believe me. Many of Savall's earlier performances are also starting to become hard to find."