Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Jean Philippe Rameau, William Christie, Les Arts Florissants|
Rameau - Les Fetes d'Hebe / Daneman, Connolly, Fouchecourt, Agnew, Felix, Les Arts Florissants, Christie
Another Christie triumph
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Few things weigh as heavily in the world of classical music as Gramophone's endorsement. This recording didn't lack one. In fact, Les Fetes d'Hebe won Gramophone 1998 Best Early Opera award, joining other highly-acclaimed Les Arts Florissants recordings and cementing William Christie's fame as the principal exponent of French baroque repertory. Les Fetes d'Hebe is an example of the most popular genre in the 18th-century France - opera-ballet. It is not based on a dramatic plot, but presents a series of "entrees," each with an individual subplot and a distinct musical palette. Both vocal and orchestral numbers delight the senses. The cast is mostly composed of performers who frequently appear with Les Arts Florissants. The degree of artistic cohesion this group has achieved is remarkable. All of the performers deserve to be lauded by name for their wonderful contributions, but this would take too long. I will, however, mention Jean-Paul Fouchecourt, from whose performance I derived the most pleasure on this recording. The Christie/Fouchecourt collaboration dates back more than 10 years, and no wonder. Fouchecourt's voice, sweet and nuanced, with a slight hint of plaintiveness, is nearly ideal for this kind of repertory. Christie taps into the best talents in the world. Jean-Paul Fouchecourt, Paul Agnew and Mark Padmore who between them probably made the most appearances with Christie, are (in my view at least) the best, most distinctive male voices of all time. Now that Christie has added Ian Bostridge to his roster (with Mozart's Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail) the universe is complete. As far as I'm concerned, if all the other tenors were suddenly lost in the Bermuda triangle I wouldn't care. Buying this or any other Christie recording will be the best gift you can give yourself."
Rameau A+, Christie/LAF C+
Ruminator | The Fencepost | 01/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Too much can't be said to praise the music here, dated 1739 when the composer was in his prime.
Les Fêtes d'Hébé is a pastoral opera-ballet comprised of a Prologue and 3 Entrees, dedicated to Poetry, Music, and Danse respectively. Ramaeu deploys an arsenal of assorted instruments a cordes & a vents to keep the shepherds on their feet or calm them with ravishing musettes.
However, all is not ideal in this idyllic scenario, per the performance. There is probably no better way to make this obvious than by comparing this offering to Bruggen's recording on Glossa of an instrumental suite drawn from the original.
Christie seems to be in a hurry, singers are nearly gasping, and strings are thin and disordered. Bruggen's broader tempi allow for a more expansive and rhythmic response from the orchestra and more delights for the listener to enjoy.
Credit to all for making the complete recording available, and it may be essential for Christie/LAF/Rameau fans. But it doesnt warm me up like Bruggen does.
PS: Unavailable for a few years, Bruggen's recording was reissued by Glossa in 2007 Jean-Philippe Rameau: Orchestral Works. A companion recording of equal merit Rameau - Orchestral Suites ~ Naïs · Zoroastre / Orchestra of the 18th Century · Brüggen is still available in its originally issued format - highly recommended."
A real gem
Ruminator | 05/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a treat to discover Rameau through this little gem. Les Fetes d'Hebe moves with enchanting spirit and grace, the lightness of the opera-ballet medium perfectly suited to the French baroque style. William Christie and his performers once again furnish a remarkable recording."