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Rameau - Règne Amour
Love Songs from the Operas
Carolyn Sampson, a soprano with a reputation for performances of dazzling virtuosity and musicality, presents arias from seven operas by Rameau in her first solo recording. She is joined by Ex Cathedra and Jeffrey Skidmore, with whom she began her singing career whilst at Birmingham University.
Rameau's operas so dominated the stage of the Paris Opéra in the mid-1700s that their productions were officially ‘rationed' so as not to depress other composers. By turns tender, voluptuous, nostalgic, teasing, and even outrageously satirical, these arias are ravishingly beautiful.
“Carolyn Sampson's voice almost inevitably gives pleasure and her singing of this repertoire, strikingly varied in its stylistic and expressive ranges, is well nigh ideal” BBC Music Magazine
“The English soprano's musical intelligence, effervescent communication and richness of sound add up to a compelling package, especially so in this carefully chosen selection of Rameau's operatic love songs.” Classic FM Magazine
“This is a stunning CD. Never before have I heard such fantastic performances of Rameau from an English group. The undoubted star of the show is former choirboy-soundalike Carloyn Sampson, whose voice has (seemingly) been gradually developing velvety tones over the past year or so, and here is showcased in all its spectacular radiance in selections from seven of Rameau's stage works.” Early Music Review
“Carolyn Sampson is as dazzling in the vocal pyrotechnics as she is touching in the CD's title song, "Règne Amour"” Evening Standard
“Skidmore, a painstaking conductor, breathes boundless energy into his many-coloured orchestra; the group provides faultless support for the exquisite soprano Carolyn Sampson” Goldberg
“This wonderful music will always need special vocal advocacy and there can be few outside France as equipped as Carolyn Sampson.” Gramophone Magazine
“To sum up: Sampson is radiant, voluptuous and utterly captivating. This is far and away her finest recording to date, and a more inspiring selection from Rameau's operas would be hard to find … there's a huge audience out there who, if only they knew how ravishing, how life-enhancing this music is, would buy a copy instantly.” International Record Review
“This is an ideal introduction to Rameau's stage music. The songs, drawn from seven operas, range from the joyful to the tempestuous via the poignant and heart-rending....Sampson's fluid, stylish singing is simply lovely... nobody could fail to be seduced by her performances.” Sunday Times
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Rameau – The Sound of Light
In celebration of the 250-year anniversary of Jean Philippe Rameau’s death, this album is a selection of Teodor Currentzis’ favourite orchestral and orchestral / vocal works by Rameau - taken mostly from his operas and opera-ballets.
Two singers drawn from the MusicAeterna Choir – Nadine Koutcher and Alexei Svetov - sing solo parts on several of the key tracks including the hauntingly beautiful Tristes Apprêts’ from Castor et Pollux and ‘Orage‘ from Platée.
We see that this release builds on the brand of Currentzis and MusicAeterna showing that they have a very rich and broad creative output.
“The most amazing phenomenon in life is light. It gives us breath, life and love. So – how to explain to someone who has never been embraced by the sun what light actually is? I would play them music by Rameau.” Currentzis explains how he experiences the music of Rameau.
“Currentzis describes the act of listening to Rameau as a conversation in which 'you are naked and it is painful'. In the dewy pathos of 'Tristes apprets'..., as the string fade into a pale halo around Nadine Koutcher's fragile voice and the pulse slows to nothingness, you can almost see what he means.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2015 ***
“This anthology of favourite moments from Rameau's stage music, though eccentric, is quite satisfying…the conviction with which Currentzis and his exceptionally talented orchestra present their unusual interpretations has won me, a crusty purist, over more than a little.” International Record Review, March 2015
“After several memorable Mozart recordings, they take on the music of Rameau here, bringing the same startling zest for innovation and untamed dynamism to a dazzling selection of vocal and instrumental selections from his operas.” New York Times, 11th December 2015
“sometimes it is just too extreme...Yet there is highly original thinking here, and you cannot argue with the sophistication of the playing by the orchestra MusicAeterna.” The Observer, 16th November 2014 ***
“Discerning music lovers who enjoy living on the edge might consider Rameau: The Sound of Light for Christmas. The maverick conductor Teodor Currentzis’s incisive trip through the juicier chunks of Rameau’s operas is delivered with typically extreme tempi and gutsy playing from MusicAeterna.” The Times, 12th December 2014 ****
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Les Grandes Eaux Musicales De Versailles
The event known as ‘Les grandes eaux Musicales de Versailles 2012’, when all the fountains are working, accompanied by music, is presented by the Palace of Versailles in collaboration with Alpha. The music consists of a selection of absolute masterpieces of French Baroque music, from seventeenth and eighteenth century songs to great classics of the operatic repertoire, performed by some of the label’s leading artists, including the ensemble Pygmalion, Le Poème harmonique, Café Zimmermann and others.
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Rameau: Symphonies for two harpsichords
Laurent Soumagnac, Chaumont en Vexin 2008 [Lyonnaise school]
Philippe Humeau, Barbaste 1983, after Antoine Vater, Paris 1738
Philippe Humeau, Barbaste 2006, after Christian Zell, Hamburg 1728
The numerous instrumental pieces or 'Symphonies' found in the dramatic works of Rameau are remarkably effective on the harpsichord: the composer himself, with his transcription of 'Les Indes Galantes' invited other musicians to continue this tradition.
Seizing on the formidable array of material available in his operas: Platée, Zoroastre, Dardanus, Les Paladins, Pygmalion... Pierre Hantai and Skip Sempé, our finest exponents of this repertoire, take obvious pleasure in revealing, through the two harpsichords, the immense richness of this music, full of surprises and imagination.
“The harpsichord sound is beautifully captured and the playing is beyond reproach. While there is much drama in Hantai and Sempe's playing, it might be best to take this magnificent collection a little at a time.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2012 ****
“it shouldn't really work to reduce Rameau's richly orchestrated dances to a pair of keyboards. Yet Hantaï and Sempé are so vivacious in their rhythms and so freewheeling in their improvisatory style, often filling in Rameau's outline with dazzling decoration, that this disc is huge fun.” The Observer, 20th August 2012
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