Lully: Phaëton • Atrys • Armide

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Jean-Baptiste Lully
ALBUM TITLE: Lully: Phaëton • Atrys • Armide
WORKS: Overtures & Airs from Phaëton, Atrys & Armide
PERFORMER: Capriccio Baroque Orchestra/Dominik Kiefer


Even if Lully was not the most talented of French Baroque composers, his influence was enormous. The orchestral suites of the German Baroque would be unthinkable without Lully’s operatic orchestral music, not least his development of the French overture, whose form and style were appropriated by all composers of significance across Europe. These three suites from some of Lully’s most significant operas were assembled by the canny Amsterdam publisher, Estienne Roger. If not every one of these 35 movements escapes routine, there is plenty to pique the ear, not least the ‘Entrée des Furies’ from Phaëton, the ‘Sommeil’ from Atys and the great Passacaille from Armide.

The Capriccio Baroque Orchestra delivers some memorable playing, with impressive style and ornamentation. Its wind players offer some pungent solo playing in a suitably ambient acoustic. Not all is plain sailing, however: on occasion the string ensemble is a little ragged and the tuning of recorders is not impeccable. But all in all this is a very attractive collection.


Jan Smaczny