Monday, August 30, 2010

Bach JC - Amadis des Gaules - Helmuth Rilling








Bach JC - Amadis des Gaules - Helmuth Rilling
Opera | Eac, flac, cue | log, cover | 2 CD, 536 MB
November 1, 1995 | Hanssler Classics | RapidShare



Amadis de Gaule or Amadis des Gaules (Amadis of Gaul) is a French opera in three acts by the German composer Johann Christian Bach. The libretto is a revision by Alphonse-Denis-Marie de Vismes du Valgay of Amadis by Philippe Quinault, originally set by Jean-Baptiste Lully in 1684 which in turn was based on the knight-errantry romance Amadis de Gaula (1508). Bach's opera was first performed at the Académie royale de musique, Paris on 14 December 1779. It followed the contemporary French fashion for resetting libretti by Quinault (Armide by Gluck and Roland by Piccinni are other examples of this trend). The work was not a success with the Parisian public, mainly because it pleased neither the supporters of Gluck nor those of Piccinni, the two leading rival opera composers in France at the time. Premiere, 14 December 1779

Urgande soprano
Amadis tenor
Oriane soprano
Arcabonne soprano
Arcalaus bass
Ghost of Ardan Canile bass

Synopsis

The brother and sister Arcalaus and Arcabonne, both magicians, pursue Amadis and his beloved Oriane because Amadis has slain their brother Ardan Canile. After many complications the lovers finally overcome their enemies with the help of the good sorceress Urgande.


Johann Christian Bach

Amadis de Gaules was the only opera that Johann Christian Bach ever wrote for the French stage. It premiered at the Paris Opéra on December 14, 1779, to lukewarm reviews and an indifferent public. It is, however, one of the composer's most ambitious, dramatic, and interesting works. Part of the reason for the hostility to it on the part of the critics and public was the ongoing feud between those who favored the French operatic tradition as embodied in the works of Gluck, and those known as Piccinists, because of their championing of the Italian composer Piccini. The management of the Italian Opera commissioned a work from Johann Christian Bach, probably thinking that because he composed in the "Italian" style, his work would add fuel to the controversy. But Bach studied the singing and declamation style of the French before beginning to compose his work, and chose a traditionally French subject to set for his introduction to the theaters of Paris. The story of Amadis de Gaules is an old French romance, and was originally turned into a magic opera by Philippe Quinault and Jean-Baptiste Lully. Although much of Bach's score is Italianate, it is obvious that he took French traditions into account when writing his opera. There are extensive ballets, choral tableaux, and divertissements in each act. He uses descriptive orchestral music to create atmosphere and effective characterizations. The score to Amadis contains some of Bach's most adventurous harmonies and orchestrations along with a wealth of aria forms, including the French ariette, and magical elements, such as demons, ghosts, and divinities. The recitative is given more dramatic prominence than in his other operas, and is often richly accompanied. The result is an opera in which the orchestra and other non-vocal elements are extremely important, and are used to create a musically integrated dramatic whole. The result pleased almost no one. Bach returned to London, never to compose for the French stage again.

Alphonse-Denis-Marie de Vismes du Valgay adapted Quinault's libretto for Bach. He took the traditional prologue and five acts of the tragédie-lyrique and condensed it into a three-act work, in the style of the Italians. In order to do so he had to cut an important subplot. Because the Lully opera was so well known and loved by the French, tampering with it was guaranteed to draw fire from the critics. Quinault's libretto was thought of as a fine piece of dramatic literature. The revision was viewed as something of a travesty. However in merging French traditions such as the divertissement and ballet with Italian structures, Bach created one of his most formally imaginative operas. It was the last opera J. C. Bach composed.



Johann Christian Bach, the only member of his family to have had any career in the opera house, began writing for the stage in Italy, continued in London and Mannherm and ended in Paris. This work is the last of his operas, written in 1779 to a revision of the libretto by Quinault that Lully had set almost a century before. It was not a success; there were only seven performances and it was never revived. One can, I think, see some of the reasons why it failed to please the French audiences at the time of the Gluck/Piccinni controversies, but there is nevertheless some superlative music here which certainly affects our view of J. C. Bach, whom we tend to regard above all as an elegant, galant composer of courtly, Italianate QG symphonies and chamber music.


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Amadis des Gaules (or de Gaule, as it is more usually and no less correctly known) is a tragedie-lyrique, on a magical medieval theme about a pair of sorcerers, brother and sister, who seek vengeance on Amadis and his beloved Oriane because he earlier killed their brother, Ardan Canale. It is rather a silly plot and one that I rather think no music of the late eighteenth century could plausibly support. Bach, however, produces a number of very fine pieces. Some are virtually Italian-style arias, for example the first two, the one for the Coryphee near the end of Act 2 and that for the sorcerer Arcalaus in the final act. But there are also some intensely eloquent airs, notably all the solo music for Amadis (the part was composed for the famous haute-contre, Legros) including a very Gluckian air at the end of Act 1 there is a powerful invocation for Arcalaus, an astonishing ghost scene for Ardan Canale (recalling with its misty, low-pitched halo of sound Handel's for Samuel in his Saul, which Bach must have known) and several duets, among them an impassioned piece for the sorcerers earlier in Act 1 and an appealing one soon after for the lovers, as well as a very warmly written piece (also for the lovers) near the end of the opera.

There are some fine choruses, including a vivid one for the sorcerers' demons, an amorous, languid item for the spirits enchained by the sorcerers and a noble, chromatic piece to open Act 2 for the prisoners and the guards. Being a French opera, Amadis of course has no secco but rather orchestral recitative throughout, music in the manner of the recitative in Idomeneo though not, of course dramatically as dense or as closely worked. But much of it is strong, taut, effective music, often very richly orchestrated: even the string writing seems texturally dense, and there is plenty of imaginative and resourceful writing for the woodwind (which includes clarinets). That for the orchestra is altogether particularly attractive: the highly expressive introduction to Act 3 is like nobody else—it's not much like any other J. C. Bach either, if it comes to that—and with the expressions of grief that follow from the heroine, Oriane, it makes a very remarkable scene. Gluck, of course, is the obvious point of reference in terms of style: his two Iphigenies, Armide and the French versions of Alceste and Orfeo had been heard in Paris not long before, though Bach reverts at times to his more Italian manner and lacks the broad dramatic command and concentration that distinguish Gluck's greatest works. Bach had also composed for Mannheim and there is some influence of the reform style favoured in that progressive centre.

A French opera, often Italian in idiom, written by a German who spent most of his working life in England: a real EEC piece, this! And it is made the more so here by being performed in German. That is of course regrettable, because the music takes its rhythms and the shape of its lines from the French language and the mismatch is palpable. The performance is, I imagine, based on those given in 1988 in Stuttgart and Frankfurt. Helmuth Rilling, always a dependable and efficient conductor, directs what is a largely effective and stylish reading, with well chosen tempos and a real sense of drama where it is called for. And he clearly relishes the variety of orchestral colour in the score. There are a few cuts, notably of some of the ballet music at the ends of acts. Bach made some adjustments during the run of the original performances, which seem to be reflected in different versions of the autograph; in some cases Rilling prefers the changed text.

Of the singers, I was particularly impressed by James Wagner, an American, who negotiates the very high-lying music for Amadis without evident strain and with smooth tone and expressive line. Ibolya Verebics is impressive, too, for her dramatic singing of Arcabonne's music. The rest of the cast are also very competent. I don't imagine that Amadis des Gaules is ever likely to enter the repertory, but there is a lot of very fine, highly original and deeply serious music in this score; it's amply worth trying.'

-- Stanley Sadie, Gramophone [9/1993]

Amadis des Gaules, TW G39 by Johann Christian Bach
Performer: Ibolya Verebics (Soprano), Wolfgang Schöne (Bass), Ulrike Sonntag (Soprano),
James Wagner (Tenor), Elfriede Hobarth (Soprano)
Conductor: Helmuth Rilling
Orchestra/Ensemble: Stuttgart Bach Collegium, Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart
Sung in German / Length 2:04:00


Disk 1
01
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Ouvertüre
02
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 1. Szene (Arcabonne allein) Arcabonne: "Warum, Amor, quälst du mich?"
03
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 1. Szene (Arcabonne allein) Arie der Arcabonne: "Ja, Qualen würd' ich leiden, schwere Qualen"
04
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 2. Szene (Arcalaus, Arcabonne) Dialog Arcalaus - Arcabonne: "Meine Schwester, warum in Tränen"
05
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 2. Szene (Arcalaus, Arcabonne) Arie der Arcabonne: "Der Gott der Lieb', ja, er traf mich mit seinem Pfeil"
06
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 2. Szene (Arcalaus, Arcabonne) Dialog Arcalaus - Arcabonne: "Die Liebe, ein Irrtum ist sie nur"
07
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 2. Szene (Arcalaus, Arcabonne) Arie des Arcalaus: "Eurer Liebe müßt Ihr entsagen!"
08
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 2. Szene (Arcalaus, Arcabonne) Dialog Arcalaus - Arcabonne: "Vergeßt nicht, daß das Blut, das Amadis vergoß"
09
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 2. Szene (Arcalaus, Arcabonne) Duett Arcabonne - Arcalaus: "Eine schreckliche Rache soll mir Trost heute sein"
10
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 3. Szene (Arcalaus, Chor der Dämonen) Arcalaus: "Ihr, die ihr stets nur am Bösen...süßeste Lust empfindet"
11
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 3. Szene (Arcalaus, Chor der Dämonen) Dialog Arcalaus - Dämonen: "Auf sein Wort erscheinen wir!"
12
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 3. Szene (Arcalaus, Chor der Dämonen) Arcalaus: "Schon seh' ich ihn durch den Wald sich uns nähern"
13
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 4. Szene (Amadis, Oriane) Dialog Oriane - Amadis: "Warum entflieht ihr mir, unbarmherzige Prinzessin"
14
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 4. Szene (Amadis, Oriane) Duett Amadis - Oriane: "Ach, Eure Seele genießet die Qual"
15
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 4. Szene (Amadis, Oriane) Dialog Amadis - Oriane: "Verteidigt Euch nicht, Eure Liebe ist Lüge!"
16
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 5. Szene (Amadis allein) Arie des Amadis: "Niemals seh' ich die Geliebte wieder"
17
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 6. Szene (Amadis, unsichtbarer Chor) Dialog Amadis - Chor: "Oh! O grausames Schicksal"
18
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 6. Szene (Amadis, unsichtbarer Chor) Amadis: "Welche Klage, welch Leid!"
19
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Erster Akt - 7. Szene (Amadis, Arcalaus, Chor der Dämonen) Arcalaus: "Verweg'ner, halt!"

Disk 2

01
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 1. Szene (Chor der Gefangenen, Chor der Wärter) Chor der Gefangenen: "Gott, ende unsre Qualen!"
02
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 2. Szene (Die Vorigen, Arcabonne) Dialog Arcabonne - Gefangene: "Laßt endlich das Jammern und müßige Klagen!"
03
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 2. Szene (Die Vorigen, Arcabonne) Arie der Arcabonne: "Den Feind, der so schwer mich beleidigt"
04
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 2. Szene (Die Vorigen, Arcabonne) Arcabonne: "Ihr, die Ihr teilt meinen Schmerz"
05
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 2. Szene (Die Vorigen, Arcabonne) Andante gracioso
06
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 2. Szene (Die Vorigen, Arcabonne) Arcabonne: "Du, der du hier im Grab"
07
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 2. Szene (Die Vorigen, Arcabonne) Arcabonne: "Ich geb' euch Antwort, ihr ungeduld'gen Manen"
08
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 3. Szene (Die Vorigen, der tote Ardan Canil) Dialog Ardan - Arcabonne: "Weh! Du übst Verrat, Unglücksel'ge!"
09
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 3. Szene (Die Vorigen, der tote Ardan Canil) Gefangene: "Alles bebt und erschaudert!"
10
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 3. Szene (Die Vorigen, der tote Ardan Canil) Arcabonne: "Nein, nichts besänftigt mehr meine rasande Wut!"
11
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 4. Szene (Die Vorigen, Amadis - später Choryphée) Dialog Arcabonne - Amadis: "Stirb!...Himmel, was seh ich!"
12
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 4. Szene (Die Vorigen, Amadis - später Choryphée) Arie der Amadis: "Ach, wenn Ihr Mitleid könnt empfinden"
13
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 4. Szene (Die Vorigen, Amadis - später Choryphée) Dialog Arcabonne - Amadis: "Nein, sterben sollt Ihr nicht"
14
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 4. Szene (Die Vorigen, Amadis - später Choryphée) Das Fest der Freiheit. Eine Choryphée erscheint mit ihrem Gefolge
15
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 4. Szene (Die Vorigen, Amadis, Choryphée) Arie der Choryphée: "Nun kommt in das Reich des Friedens"
16
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 5. Szene (Die Vorigen) Gigue
17
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 5. Szene (Die Vorigen) Chor der Gefangenen: "Hinaus in die Freiheit!"
18
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Zweiter Akt - 5. Szene (Die Vorigen) Tambourin - Quadrille des différentes Nations
19
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Dritter Akt - 1. Szene (Arcalaus, Arcabonne) Dialog Arcalaus - Arcabonne: "Durch meine Zaubermacht ist Oriane gefangen"
20
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Dritter Akt - 2. Szene (Oriane) Arie der Oriane: "Wer kann mir Schutz und Zukunft sein?"
21
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Dritter Akt - 3. Szene (Arcalaus, Oriane) Dialog Arcalaus - Oriane: "Ich hör' Euer Fleh'n"
22
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Dritter Akt - 4. Szene (Die Vorigen, Amadis ohnmächtig, Arcabonne) Oriane: "Was sehe ich? o welch grausamer Anblick!"
23
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Dritter Akt - 4. Szene (Die Vorigen, Amadis ohnmächtig, Arcabonne) Arie der Oriane: "Wie grausam quält mich mein Gewissen"
24
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Dritter Akt - 4. Szene (Die Vorigen, Amadis ohnmächtig, Arcabonne) Duett Arcalaus - Arcabonne: "Oh, welche Lust"
25
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Dritter Akt - 5. Szene (Die Vorigen, Oriane und Amadis, beide ohnmächtig) Dialog Arcalaus - Arcabonne: "Welche Macht droht uns hier"
26
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Dritter Akt - 6. Szene (Die Vorigen, Urgandes unsichtbares Gefolge) Chor, Urgandes Gefolge: "Erbebt! Erzittert vor Urgande!"
27
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Dritter Akt - 6. Szene (Die Vorigen, Urgandes unsichtbares Gefolge) Arie des Arcalaus: "Eitle Angst und nichtige Sorge!"
28
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Dritter Akt - 6. Szene (Die Vorigen, Urgandes unsichtbares Gefolge) Arcabonnes Ende: "Nein, der Sieg bleibt nur trüg'rische Hoffnung"
29
Amadis des Gaules (Tragédie-lyrique, 1779) Dritter Akt - 7. Szene (Amadis, Oriane, Urgande, Chor) Chor: "Glückliches Paar" / Duett Amadis - Oriane: "Welch ein Glück!" / Ballett, Duett und Chor: "Junge Herzen, die Amor bindet"

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