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French Cantatas - Clérambault, Stuck, Etc / Minkowski


Release Date: 10/08/2002 
Label:  Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog #: 471730   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franç. Collin de BlamontJean-Baptiste StuckLouis-Nicolas Clérambault
Performer:  Jennifer SmithThierry FélixMireille Delunsch
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The cantate francaise flourished during the first half of the eighteenth century. Morin and Bernier were among the most interesting early exponents of it, Campra, Monteclair, Clerambault and Rameau among the most impressive. Indeed, it is generally recognized that the cantate francaise reached its zenith in the hands of Clerambault. He is represented on this new disc by Le Soleil, vainqueur des nuages. It appeared in none of the composer’s five published collections of chamber cantatas but was issued separately in 1721. It enjoyed a degree of success and was performed both at court and at the Opera as well as at public concerts in the Tuileries – an important forum for this genre. Le Soleil is written for a soprano with oboe, flute, Read more violins, basse de violon, bassoon and continuo. It was intended as an “allegorical divertissement on the recovery of the King’s health” – the king in question being Louis XV. The text reads somewhat along the lines of a Lullian opera prologue; in other words containing enough hot air to launch a balloon. Yet the words allow for pleasing word-painting and Mireille Delunsch responds accordingly. An attractive and rhythmically vital piece, if brittle in textual substance, but one which forcefully demonstrates Clerambault’s skill in the medium both of recit and air.

Dido’s tragic fate made wide appeal among baroque composers and painters and Francois Colin de Blamont’s small-scale treatment of the story is touching. Blamont was a contemporary of Rameau who had studied with Delalande and whose three collections of chamber cantatas were issued between 1723 and 1729. Didon is included in the first collection and is scored for solo soprano, strings and continuo, with flute. French inflexions dominate the recits while those of Italy infiltrate the airs; these, none the less, remain in essence unmistakably French. Jennifer Smith gives a passionate account of the piece and is especially affecting in the third and final recit whose text is concerned with Dido’s despair at the departure of Aeneas.

The remaining cantata is by Jean-Baptiste Stuck, sometimes known as Battistin. Even if we did not know that he was Italian by birth and upbringing we should certainly suspect it from the ravishing string suspensions and walking bass that accompany the beautifully poignant opening air of the cantata Heraclite et Democrite. This lovely work for soprano and bass with oboes, two violins and continuo comes from Stuck’s third collection of cantates francaises, published in 1711. Jennifer Smith is joined by Thierry Felix whose warm vocal timbre contributes towards a well-balanced partnership.

In summary, this is an entertaining programme, well equipped with music likely to captivate audiences. For me the weakest part lies in scrawny string playing, sometimes sufficiently ragged to recall much earlier sorties with period instruments. A refreshing issue, all the same.'

Nicholas Anderson, Gramophone [11/1996] Reviewing Archiv 449144
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Works on This Recording

1.
Cantates françoises, Livre 1: Didon by Franç. Collin de Blamont
Performer:  Jennifer Smith (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1723; France 
Language: French 
2.
Cantates (6) françoises, Book 2: Héraclite et Démocrite by Jean-Baptiste Stuck
Performer:  Thierry Félix (Baritone), Jennifer Smith (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1708; France 
Language: French 
3.
Le soleil vainqueur des nuages by Louis-Nicolas Clérambault
Performer:  Mireille Delunsch (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1721; France 
Language: French 

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