Le Triomphe De L’amour

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Gréty; Lully; Rameau; Campra; Charpentier; Favart; Sacchini
LABELS: NAIVE
ALBUM TITLE: Le Triomphe De L’amour
WORKS: Gréty: ‘Je romps la chaine qui m’engage’; Lully: ‘Enfin, j’ai dissipé la crainte’; Rameau: ‘L’amour est le dieu de la paix’; ‘Je vole, amour’; ‘Viens, hymen’; Campra: ‘Espoir des malheureux’; Charpentier: ‘a-t-on jamais souffert’; Favart: ‘Pauvre nise’; Sacchini: ‘Wue l’éclat de la victoire se répande sur vos jours’
PERFORMER: Sandrine Piau (soprano); les Paladins/Jerome Correas
CATALOGUE NO: OP30532

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From Charles Aznavour to Edith Piaf, the French have a knack of producing great chanteurs de charme and, in the heady world of French Baroque opera, soprano Sandrine Piau is surely one of the most seductive interpreters. It’s l’amour, toujours l’amour in this album of arias and instrumental works from the siècle d’or, with high drama in André Grétry’s ‘Je romps la chaine’, fragrant sorrow in André Campra’s ‘Espoir des malheureux’, fluctuating hope and despair in the climactic aria of Lully’s Acis et Galatée. Dulcet flutes evoke pastoral bliss in Rameau’s ‘Je vole, amour’ and ‘Viens, hymen’; spiky martial rhythms and edgy strings paint violent emotion in Rebel and Francoeur’s exotic Scanderbeg. A disc of operatic highlights can all too often sound like a series of bleeding chunks, but this one has a real sense of coherence and drive.

Piau negotiates with true French panache both the vocal and emotional highs and lows. Her voice is as sensual as Piaf, poetic as Greco, and with a chameleon-like sensitivity to the dramatic context. There’s volatile playing, too, from Les Paladins, with their urgent strings and bucolic flutes. Jérôme Correas conjures up all the magic of Baroque theatre in a sequence of passion, tenderness and tragedy.

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Kate Bolton