Search - Jean-Philippe Rameau, Cappella Coloniensis, Les Arts Florissants :: Rameau - La Guirlande ~ Zéphyre / Daneman, Méchaly, Ockenden, Decaudaveine, Agnew, Baloza, Cappella Coloniensis, Christie

Rameau - La Guirlande ~ Zéphyre / Daneman, Méchaly, Ockenden, Decaudaveine, Agnew, Baloza, Cappella Coloniensis, Christie
Jean-Philippe Rameau, Cappella Coloniensis, Les Arts Florissants
Rameau - La Guirlande ~ Zéphyre / Daneman, Méchaly, Ockenden, Decaudaveine, Agnew, Baloza, Cappella Coloniensis, Christie
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (26) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #2

Though entitled acte de ballet, these two works are really small operas, since the action is carried on mainly by recitatives and arias. However, there is also a profusion of dances: courtly, gracious, stately as well a...  more »

      
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Though entitled acte de ballet, these two works are really small operas, since the action is carried on mainly by recitatives and arias. However, there is also a profusion of dances: courtly, gracious, stately as well as lively, sometimes in sets amounting to entire suites. They supplement the chorus's commentary on the action and reflect the characters' mood and state of mind. Both works have idyllic, pastoral settings and very flimsy librettos, the first about love among shepherds and shepherdesses, the second between gods, goddesses, and nymphs. It is Rameau's music that infuses these contrived, artificial characters and situations with vibrant life and human emotions, and it is beautiful, with an unfailing crystalline purity, whether expressing joy, pleading, or nostalgia. The orchestra sets and underlines mood and atmosphere with evocative tone-painting; the winds not only imitate whole choirs of birds, but illustrate sighs and emotions; hunting horns herald the goddess Diana. The performance is exemplary, the sound transparent but not thin, and the dances have a supple, lilting rhythm. The singers negotiate their florid arias with ease and communicate tenderness, passion, remorse, anguish, and forgiveness. In La Guirlande, countertenor Paul Agnew and soprano Sophie Daneman are outstanding; in Zéphyre, whose three parts are all sung by sopranos, the wind-god's voice is much brighter than that of the nymph he courts. Described as among Rameau's lesser works, these two pieces seem to have been neglected unjustly. --Edith Eisler