Amid the glitter and pomp of the French court, Lully, Rameau and their contemporaries looked East. Peter Whelan directs the Academy of Ancient Music, as Milton Court Concert Hall becomes the Palace of Versailles.
Swagger, splendour and imaginations running wild. At the court of the Sun King and his successors, no-one doubted that the world revolved around Versailles. Or that the court composers would bring all nations to pay homage – musically, at least. Lully, Rameau, Delalande and Campra evoke the world of the Ottoman Empire from a very French perspective.
The result? Well, it’s not always what you expect – and it’s not just sizzling percussion and tangy harmonies either. Lully’s score for Molière’s social-climbing comedy holds a satirical mirror to European society. Rameau, meanwhile, gives an unexpectedly positive twist to a tale of love and forgiveness in a society very different from his own – with music as spirited as it is entertaining.
Carolyn Sampson soprano
Anthony Gregory tenor
Marcus Farnsworth baritone
Academy of Ancient Music
Peter Whelan director & harpsichord
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