COMPOSERS: Cordier,Lully,M Lambert & Cambert
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Le Roi Danse
PERFORMER: Céline Scheen (soprano); Ex Tempore, Musica Antiqua Köln/Reinhard Goebel
CATALOGUE NO: 463 446-2
Lully as a composer for film is a notion that deserves some consideration: he did, after all, write music for some of the most spectacular special effects the machinists of French 17th-century theatre could devise, among them floating clouds and flying chariots. This anthology of original music is for a film about Louis XIV, Molière and Lully. The fact that the king danced, and danced very well, is crucial to the relationship that grew up between Louis and Lully: while Lully aggrandised the Sun King, Louis in return made Lully both grand and rich.
This sequence of music for ballet and opera ranges broadly, and indeed out of the period when a more modest ‘Le roi’ was inclined to ‘danse’. Never mind, it is fascinating, instructive and entertaining. Along with rarities such as music from the early Ballet de la nuit, crucial to Lully’s rise as a composer, we find such infrequently heard composers as Jacques Cordier and Robert Cambert. There is also much to admire in performances that are idiomatic and subtle, especially in the deploying of lilting rhythmic inequality, even if at times they are not quite as together as the martinet Lully might have liked. Jan Smaczny