Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jean-Philippe Rameau - Castor et Pollux - Harnoncourt, Concentus Musicus Wien







What is so transcendental about this performance goes far beyond the application of "performance practices" and use of period instruments: the unanimity of approach; the profound and intimate understanding of the music's rhetorical language - its gesture and space as conceived by Harnoncourt and executed by the entire ensemble; the sublime nuances and instant turns ofConcentus Musicus Wien phrase; the suavity; the color and drama; the sense of dance - from playful to haunting and fiery --- and everything in between; the gloriously spontaneous sound of the ensemble ornamentation; subtle use of notes inegal. The vocal soloists seem beautifully suited to their roles - expressive, colorful. The Stockholm Chamber Choir is magical -- perfectly in tune and extraordinarily responsive to each text setting (blending wonderfully with the orchestra as well). One would be hard-pressed to find an early-music ensemble (or any ensemble) present in a more fluent, longing and ultimately triumphant reading as that of the closing grand Chaconne and ensuing chorus. As I recall, this was something of a revolutionary recording for the Concentus Musicus Wien as well - using crescendo/diminuendo bowing and other baroque techniques more boldly than in previous recordings. 


flac, covers

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