Messe du Roi Soleil

Messe du Roi Soleil
Lully – Couperin – Delalande
Chœur et Ensemble Marguerite Louise, Gaetan Jarry, organ
Château de Versailles Spectacles, CVS008. 53’13

The Château de Versailles Spectacles label continues with its series of recordings based on the music that might have been heard in the Royal Chapel. These recordings are presumably aimed principally at the tourists that, in more normal circumstances, flock to the Palace and its gift shops. On this occasion, there has to be a health warning to more serious CD buyers, not least because the premise for this recording is not really what it says on the tin. One thing this isn’t is a Mass for the Sun King, or indeed, any sort of Mass. Continue reading

Destouches & Delalande: Les Éléments

Destouches & Delalande: Les Éléments
Ensemble les Surprises, L-N Bestion de Camboulas
Ambronay AMY046. 75’47

Les ÉlémentsThe creation of the opera-ballet Les Éléments has links with the courtly and musical politics of Paris. Louis XIV died in 1715, leaving as his successor a five-year old fragile child. One of the focuses of the Regency was to ensure that the young Louis XV would survive at least as long as it took for him to father a successor to the throne. Dance was seen as a suitable approach to both encourage his own development, and to show to others that he was capable of succeeding his long-lived father and, eventually, to do his bit for the future of the royal line. To this end, several ballets were commissioned, usually giving the King a moment to strut his stuff in front of the assembled courtiers.

One such was Les Éléments, performed in 1721 in a small theatre constructed in the galleries of the Tuileries palace, a less intimidating space Continue reading