Rameau: Une symphonie imaginaire: extracts from Zaïs, Castor et Pollux, Les Fêtes d’Hébé, Dardanus, Le Temple de la Gloire, Les Boréades, Platée,

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Rameau
LABELS: Archiv
ALBUM TITLE: Rameau orchestral works
WORKS: Une symphonie imaginaire: extracts from Zaïs, Castor et Pollux, Les Fêtes d’Hébé, Dardanus, Le Temple de la Gloire, Les Boréades, Platée,
PERFORMER: Les Musiciens du Louvre/Marc Minkowski
CATALOGUE NO: 477 5578
In a prescient bit of parenting, my father sat me down, aged 13, with Mahler’s First Symphony and started me on this never-ending journey. This disc is dedicated to Alexandre Minkowski (1915-2004), who obviously did something equally momentous for son Marc. Minkowski cares about this project – I’m told he fought hard to sell the 2003 BBC Proms a 40-minute version of this suite. This live, extended remake is cunningly paced, stunningly played and impressively recorded (on SACD, a lone cough in the Tambourins from Dardanus comes from the right place – the audience, behind you!).

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This must now be the best Rameau ‘starter’ disc, one I’d have driven my parents bonkers with. My teenage sweet tooth has calmed down and I can see that scoffing these lollipops in one go makes it harder to savour each one’s qualities and what it brings to the many-layered menu that makes up Rameau’s stage masterpieces. So if you’ve already got any of Frans Brüggen’s excellent discs of suites, go for Minkowski’s complete operas – Hippolyte et Aricie, Dardanus, both on Archiv (but shame on them for deleting his superb Anacréon); and Platée, on Erato (CD) or, better still, TDK (DVD) – and try this on your kids. Nick Morgan