LABELS: Les Arts Florissants Editions
ALBUM TITLE: Le Jardin de Monsieur Rameau
WORKS: Excepts from Montéclair: Jephté, Dauvergne: Hercule mourant; La Vénitienne; Rameau: Hippolyte et Aricie; Grandval: Rien du tout; Gluck: L’Ivrogne corrigé; Campra: L’europe galante
PERFORMER: Daniela Skorka, Emilie Renard, Benedetta Mazzucato, Zachary Wilder, Victor Sicard, Cyril Costanzo; Les Arts Florissants/William Christie
CATALOGUE NO: AF002
This magnificently presented CD celebrates the relationship between William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants and the theatre of Caen. Alongside a detailed commentary on the music is a prose poem by Adrien Goetz about the nearby garden of Château Canon and the music heard there. The cast is drawn from the young singers participating in Les Arts Florissants’s annual ‘Le jardin des voix’ course working on French repertoire, with Rameau at its heart, under the expert tutelage of Christie and Paul Agnew. The music is a fascinating mix of works by Rameau and a fair few of his contemporaries – from the polished old stager Campra to the younger Dauvergne and Grandval – as well as Gluck. One regrettable omission is Mondonville, of whom Christie is a masterly interpreter.
The results of this summer course are impressive. Montéclair’s prologue to Jephté is an arresting opener with Les Arts Florissants in characteristically stylish form. Daniela Skorka is genuinely affecting in Dauvergne’s Hercule mourant and there are excellent performances by Cyril Constanzo in excerpts from Gluck’s French-inspired comedies for Vienna, and Victor Sicard in arias from Rameau’s Dardanus. When it comes to depth and colour, Rameau stands high above his potential rivals in this richly stocked garden. But there is much to savour, not least the youthful enthusiasm of the singers. Jan Smaczny