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Rameau: La Temple de la Gloire; Campra: L'Europe Galante / Leppard, ECO

Release Date: 04/08/2010 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 433733  
Composer:  Jean-Philippe RameauAndré Campra
Conductor:  Raymond Leppard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

French music of the late baroque is represented at its most original and most tuneful on this record. Mr Leppard and the ECO have already given us one group of movements from Rameau's Le temple de la gloire; this suite is even more striking and brilliant in its invention and its orchestration. It starts with the overture, the main part of which is a sort of toccata with trumpets, horns, rushing strings, squealing piccolos; its central section is a slow air in minuet rhythm with an odd melodic line, very static and with unexpected twists—or perhapi the violin line isn't really a melody at all but just an accompaniment to the almost equally curious music for the horns. After the overture comes a Musette, not the gavotte-type that Bach used, Read more but in minuet rhythm (for oboes, with real musettcs or bagpipes in the original, the sleeve-note says) ; its minor-key trio has big spread chords for the violins. Then comes a very sweet Air tendre for flutes, accompanied by bassoons and pizzicato strings. Finally, a Chaconne: the vocal sections from the original are omitted, and it ends with a "Suite dc chaconne", which amounts to another triple-time movement and a lively coda.

Not much of Andre Campra's music has been recorded. L'europe galante (1967) was his first opera-ballet and his most famous: it is not only the use of the word galante that has led him to be described as one of the principal father-figures of galante music—he had an undoubted gift for the gentle, elegant melodic style that characterizes that style, and his theatre works, many of them based on frankly entertaining subjects (L'europe galante, masque-like, has its acts set in four countries), make much use of this new manner, so much lighter in touch than that of men like Lully or Lalande or even Charpantier. The twelve movements on this record exemplify his art. Compare, for example, the opening march ("des masques galante") with any of the Lully marches on this month's other Oiseau-Lyre disc by Leppard and the ECO, reviewed on p.428 --it sounds like a pretty piece for toy soldiers next to Lully's for the real thing. Then the phraseology of his Forlane and Menuet has an elegance and four-square neatness lacking in the more severe music of Lully. Carnpra, to go by this disc, seems to me at his best in the slower movements—there is a really lovely Sarabande, where Mr Leppard has the strings sighing most exquisitely, and an equally delicious Loure. But many of the faster pieces are attractive too, like the gay Rigaudons and the lightly tripping Passepieds (one of which has, in Frederick Hewitt's version here, some very unauthentic-sounding pizzicatos).

Performances are excellent—of the Rameau particularly, where Mr Leppard splendidly catches the sense of wilfulness and quirky brilliance which lends his music its special colour. In the Campra the character of the various pieces is precisely caught and conveyed, though I wish that the occasional effect of artificiality, of (for example) a rhythm being too consciously pointed, could have been avoided. And I'd like to have heard a bit more harpsichord continuo sometimes, though I am aware of the difficulties of the harpsichordist-conductor's dual role. Still, an extremely enjoyable record, with impeccable playing from the ECO (with especially notable flute and oboe soloists), and a clear recording.

-- Gramophone [2/1968] Reviewing orginal LP
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Works on This Recording

Le temple de la gloire: Suite by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Conductor:  Raymond Leppard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1745; France 
L'Europe galante: Suite by André Campra
Conductor:  Raymond Leppard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 

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