LABELS: Ediciones Singulares
ALBUM TITLE: Salieri
WORKS: Les Danaïdes
PERFORMER: Judith van Wanroij, Philippe Talbot, Tassis Christoyannis, Katia Velletaz, Thomas Dolié; Les Chantres du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles; Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset
CATALOGUE NO: ES 1019
Judith van Wanroij, Philippe Talbot, Tassis Christoyannis, Katia Velletaz, Thomas Dolié; Les Chantres du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles; Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset Ediciones Singulares ES 1019 127:06 mins BBC Music Direct£32.99 (2 discs) Following the lead of the play and film Amadeus, popular opinion tends to sideline Antonio Salieri as a mediocrity envious of the far greater Mozart, who attempted to destroy his rival’s career even if he did not actually poison him. The fact is that Mozart’s slighter older Italian colleague had no reason for jealousy: he had a significantly successful career of his own. One of its highpoints was the production in Paris in 1784 of his tragédie lyrique, Les Danaïdes, a work that lasted in the local repertoire until the 1820s.
It had a strange birth. In effective retirement after a stroke, Gluck was asked to write the score but passed it on to his protégé, Salieri; yet it was as a joint work that the piece was first presented, Salieri’s sole authorship only being revealed later.
The plot is based on the Greek myth of the Danaïdes, the 50 daughters of Danaüs, egged on by their father to murder their bridegrooms on their wedding night; only his conflicted daughter Hypermnestre resists.
Les Talens Lyriques reveals the baleful splendours of Salieri’s orchestral writing under Christophe Rousset. Judith van Wanroij’s Hypermnestre is feisty but in places could do with more power. Tassis Christoyannis’s firm Danaüs makes an impressive use of text, while Philippe Talbot is lyrically agile as Lyncée. Luxury packaging in book format includes essays on the background, and libretto. George Hall