Liner Notes:  200 Years of Music at Versailles - A Journey to the Heart of French Baroque

In 2007 the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles celebrated the twentieth anniversary of its creation. The ground covered since the early days, when the “Baroque revival” was in full swing, is impressive. Baroque music performed on early instruments (copies or originals) has proved to be more than just a passing interest, craze or fashion: today it is just as much a part of the music scene as the Classical or Romantic repertoires. But for musicians to be able to perform all that so—called “ancient” music, it had to be made available to them: that was the mission entrusted to the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles in 1987. Thus, through its tireless activities in the related fields of research, publication, documentation, education and production, the CMBV has succeeded in revising many masterpieces of the French Baroque and Classical repertoires (16oo-18oo), for the delight of an ever-expanding audience.

This set of CD bears witness to that splendid achievement, by evoking 20 years of Baroque revival at the palace of Versailles. It brings together three generations of musical interpreters: the pioneers (Jean—Claude Malgoire, William Christie and others) and their disciples (including Christophe Rousset, Hervé Niquet. Philippe Pierlot and Christophe Coin), but also the new generation (Patrick Cohën-Akenine, Jérémie Rhorer, Louis Castelain et al.). They present some of the finest works composed for Versailles: symphonies accompanying the Souper du Roi, concerts given in the royal apartments, grands motets written for the Chapel, sonatas and operatic airs that were performed in the salons. Other works, written for Paris or for important provincial musical institutions (choir schools or concert societies) echo the music composed for Versailles and remind us of the close links that were maintained between the royal court, the capital and the French regions: the provinces provided the king with his finest composers and musicians, while taking nourishment from the music that was performed, published and circulated at Versailles and in Paris. These recordings attempt to give some idea of the richness of music at that time.

20 CDs, each with a theme, punctuate this journey to the heart of Baroque, and take us to various venues in turn, each with its own specific atmosphere: from the convents of Paris to the Royal Chapel at Versailles, from the apartments of Louis XIV to the salons of Marie-Antoinette, from the Concert Spirituel to Madame de Pompadour’s Théâtre des Petits-Apartments, the finest moments of French Baroque music are successively evoked through these recordings.

Foreword to accompanying 132-page booklet

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