Achille-Claude Debussy (22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) was a French composer. He and Maurice Ravel were the most prominent figures associated with Impressionist music, although Debussy disliked the term when applied to his compositions. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and his use of non-traditional scales and chromaticism influenced many composers who followed. Debussy's music is noted for its sensory content and frequent use of nontraditional tonalities. The prominent French literary style of his period was known as Symbolism, and this movement directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant.
Armida abbandonata is one of Niccolo Jommelli's finest operas. It was the first he composed after returning to Naples from his triumphant years in Stuttgart (1754-1769), receiving its first performance at the Teatro San Carlo on May 30, 1770. Among those who attended was the 14-year old Mozart, whose report that Armida was "beautiful, but too serious and old-fashioned for the theater," has been frequently quoted and almost as frequently misunderstood. "The theater" almost certainly refers specifically to the San Carlo, which did indeed find Armida "too serious," in the sense of its harmonic and orchestral complexity, ironically a criticism Mozart himself would later encounter in Vienna.
The disc contains scenes from some Offenbach operettas such as La belle Hélène, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, and La Périchole as well as some of his lesser known works. While most of the music showcases Ms. Von Otter's talent, she is also accompanied by other soloists and a chorus, all of whom perform exceptionally well. Listeners are not only exposed to lesser known works of this composer, but also to the composer's many talents. When we listen to this music, it is not too much of a stretch to see how he could create the masterpiece of TALES OF HOFFMAN (yes, the barcarolle is included).
Marc Minkowski was one of the most promising conductors to emerge in the 1990s, having carved out a niche for himself (and his hand-picked ensemble, Les Musiciens du Louvre) in the lesser-known works of the French and Italian Baroque. In the competitive fields of early music and historical performance, he has garnered considerable critical acclaim and managed to bring works of relative obscurity to the attention of wider audiences.
Fondée en 1988 par un petit groupe d'amis réunis autour du violoniste Philippe Couvert, L'académie Sainte-Cécile est un ensemble instrumental à géométrie variable articulé autour d'un trio (flûtes, vièles, clavicythérium) pour les musiques médiévales, d'une paire de violons et basse (clavecin, violoncelle) pour le répertoire baroque, d'un quatuor à cordes ou trio avec forte-piano pour le classique et romantique. Cet ensemble s'élargit occasionnellement à un effectif semi orchestral, toujours jouant sans chef à l'exemple de ses modèles historiques des XVIIè et XVIIIè siècles.
This is a worthy reading of one of Massenet's best scores, thoughtfully conducted by Kent Nagano. Anne Sofie von Otter combines intelligence and a beautiful voice with passion and conviction in the complicated character of Charlotte. Tenor Jerry Hadley is occasionally afflicted by a musical-theater tendency to croon but expresses most of the torments of the title role, while Dawn Upshaw makes a better-rounded character of Sophie than the average soubrette.
In November 1772, as the 16-year-old Mozart was preparing to astonish the Milanese with his third operatic work for the Teatro Regio Ducal, his older contemporary, Tommaso Traetta (1727–79) from the Puglia region of Italy, was presenting the premiere of his second opera for the court of Catherine the Great in St Petersburg. Today, the former’s Lucio Silla is probably better known than the latter’s Antigona. But which is the finer work? On the basis of this outstanding new recorded version, I would say that Traetta’s tragedia per musica in three acts far outclasses Mozart’s opera seria for its consistent musical inspiration and sheer theatrical know-how. If Traetta’s music were at all familiar to opera-lovers today, that would not be so surprising because this contemporary and disciple of Gluck was, by 1772, an experienced composer for the theatre, already in the prime of a life that was to end, prematurely, only seven years later. His career had taken him from the conservatory in Naples to that city’s famous San Carlo, where his first commission in 1751 was Il Farnace. From there he travelled throughout Europe.
Jean-Baptiste Lully (French pronunciation: [ʒã.ba.tist ly.li]; Italian: Giovanni Battista Lulli; 28 November 1632 – 22 March 1687) was a Florentine-born French composer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered the chief master of the French baroque style. Lully disavowed any Italian influence in French music of the period. He became a French subject in 1661…