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Rameau: Pigmalion, Grands Motets / Niquet, Fouchécourt, De Reyghere, Piau, Gens

Release Date: 05/27/2008 
Label:  Virgin Classics Veritas Catalog #: 22027   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Jean-Philippe RameauAnonymous
Performer:  Sandrine PiauVéronique GensNicole FourniéJean-Paul Fouchécourt,   ... 
Conductor:  Hervé Niquet
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert Spirituel
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

RAMEAU Pigmalion. 1 Le temple de la Gloire: 1 Air gay (2 versions); Ces oiseaux par leur doux ramage. Deus noster refugium. Quam dilecta tabernacula. In convertendo, Dominus Hervé Niquet, cond; Jean-Paul Fouchécourt ( Pigmalion, 1 ten); Greta de Reyghere ( Read more class="ARIAL12i">L’Amour ); 1 Nicole Fournié ( Céphise ); 1 Sandrine Piau ( La Statue ); 1 Véronique Gens (sop); Isabelle Desrochers (sop); Hervé Lamy (ten); Peter Harvey (bar); Marcos Loureiro de Sa (bar); Stephan Imbodem (bs); Le Concert Spirituel (period instruments) VIRGIN 522027 (2 CDs: 119:40)

The contents of both these discs were recorded in 1992 and issued separately towards the end of the decade in the U.S. at full price. This is their first reissue, as far as I can tell, and one hopes this release will draw attention once more to some truly impressive performances.

Any performance of Pigmalion rises and falls by the talent of its eponymous hero, for its three female roles are minor. Fortunately, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt was engaged for the part. He has sometimes been described as an haute-contre , though the meaning of the term has been hotly debated of late. Suffice to say that if it refers to a high tenor voice employing no falsetto, and used to convey an emotional range from sweetly lyrical to brightly heroic in French music, then Fouchécourt fits the bill. He excels equally in the expansive vigor of “L’Amour triomphe,” as well as the delicate but elaborate coloratura of “Règne, Amour.” Niquet cuts him no slack, setting a daunting pace for the latter, but Fouchécourt easily triumphs.

He can also be heard in the opening movement from In convertendo, Dominus , on the second album. Niquet casts the three surviving grands motets (a fourth survives only as a fragment, and is not included) from strength, with the likes of Stephan Imbodem and Véronique Gens among his other soloists. His conducting is alert, rhythmically buoyant, and attentive to both musical and word values, as the multi-tempo hurdles of “Converte, Domine” show. Details are never lost, but neither is momentum. The choral and orchestral work of Le Concert Spirituel is first-rate, with a precision that doesn’t rule out a refined color palette.

A relatively short but informative essay is included, but don’t expect a libretto and translation here. Virgin only includes the title of each cut, in the requisite French or Latin. The sound quality is excellent, however, spacious yet close enough to really catch the voices and instrumentals well.

FANFARE: Barry Brenesal
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Works on This Recording

Pygmalion by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Véronique Gens (Soprano), Nicole Fournié (Soprano),
Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (Tenor), Greta de Reyghère (Soprano)
Conductor:  Hervé Niquet
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert Spirituel
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1748; Paris, France 
Length: 41 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Le temple de la gloire by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Hervé Niquet
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert Spirituel
Period: Baroque 
Length: 7 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Deus noster refugium by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Hervé Niquet
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert Spirituel
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1716; France 
Length: 23 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Quam dilecta tabernacula by Anonymous
Performer:  Hervé Lamy (Tenor), Peter Harvey (Baritone), Véronique Gens (Soprano),
Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (Countertenor), Isabelle Desrochers (Soprano), Stephan Imbodem (Bass),
Marcos Loureiro de Sa (Baritone)
Conductor:  Hervé Niquet
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert Spirituel
Period: Medieval 
Length: 18 Minutes 17 Secs. 
In convertendo by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Peter Harvey (Baritone), Hervé Lamy (Tenor), Marcos Loureiro de Sa (Baritone),
Stephan Imbodem (Bass), Véronique Gens (Soprano), Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (Countertenor),
Isabelle Desrochers (Soprano)
Conductor:  Hervé Niquet
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Le Concert Spirituel
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1718; France 
Length: 22 Minutes 23 Secs. 

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