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200 Ans de Musique - Versailles (Versailles - 200 Years of Music) Box set, Live

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Audio CD, Box set, Live, October 28, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In October 2007, the Centre Musical de Baroque de Versailles celebrated its 20th anniversary, together with the best French musicians around. To complete this anniversary, they now present the release of a 20-CD box with numerous musical highlights, both of the anniversary concerts as well as releases from the previous 20 years. Thanks to this jubilee
box, you can now witness this landmark of French Baroque music.


The flowering of French music during the reigns of Kings Louis XIII through XVI is the subject of this handsome 20-CD box set, mostly recorded live at the Versailles Palace in fall 2007. Ranging from anonymous lute music and sacred services to florid oratorios and the fledgling symphony, the set includes performances by Baroque specialists including William Christie, Marc Minkowski and Christophe Rousset. -- Time Out New York, Steve Smith, November 2008

Yes, the performers include three generations of wonderful French Baroque specialists (including Buffalo born and raised William Christie) but it's the slightly mad submersion in the French Baroque repertoire that makes this immense and admittedly recondite anthology among the more jaw-dropping box sets of the season. The composers, of course, include those anyone would expect -- Lully, Charpentier, Couperin, Rameau -- but also such masters as Campra, Lalande and Mondonville not exactly commonplace. Given the very nature of the anthology -- music played at Versailles -- the majority of it is vocal and choral, as befitting the proper scale (too much solo keyboard music from Rameau and Couperin, for instance, would have been strange and not entirely apt, however aesthetically just). Here is an exploration of classical repertoire both unusual and on the highest level. -- The Buffalo News, Jeff Simon, November 23, 2008

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Les Salons Precieux du Premier Baroque
  2. Musiques de Cour au Temps de Louis XIII
  3. Lully, Createur de l'Opera Francais
  4. Lully et ses Successeurs a l'Academie Royal de Musique
  5. Concerts et Symphonies Pour le Roi
  6. Le Triomphe de la Piete Baroque
  7. La Chapelle Royale au Temps de Louis XIV
  8. Messe et Motets Pour les Paroisses
  9. Rameau a l'Academie Royal de Musique
  10. Divertissement Pour le Bien-Aime
  11. Divertissement Pour le Theatre des Petits - Appartements
  12. Au Concert Spirituel
  13. La Chapelle Royale au Temps de Louis XV
  14. La Renaissance de l'Orchestre Francais
  15. Les Italiens a la Cour de France
  16. L'Opera Francais aux Portes du Romantisme
  17. L'Essor de la Symphonie Francaise
  18. Les Premieres Heures du Pianoforte
  19. Les Salons de Versailles au Temps des Lumieres
  20. Les Nouveaux Accents de la foi au Temps de Louis XVI

Product Details

  • Performer: Véronique Gens
  • Orchestra: Les Arts Florissants, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Collegium Vocale de Gand, Les Talens Lyriques, Ricercar Consort
  • Conductor: William Christie, Marc Minkowski, Christophe Coin, Christophe Rousset
  • Audio CD (October 28, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 20
  • Format: Box set, Live
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Centre de Musique Baroque Versailles
  • ASIN: B001HBX90O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,230 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Craig M. Zeichner on October 8, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Baroque Royalty had big appetites and there were none bigger than those of the French Kings Louis XIII to Louis XVI. They indulged in musical feasts and this 20 CD collection of music spanning the years 1600-1800 features the music the four Kings would have enjoyed at court, chapel and theater. This marvelous boxed set which commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Centre de Musique de Versailles certainly makes me echo Mel Brooks' King Louis in History of the World: Part I, "It's Good to Be the King!"

The superbly produced box divides the repertoire into four broad categories: The Secrets of Versailles at the Time of Louis XIII; The "Pleasures" of Versailles During the Reign of Louis XIV; Refinement at Versailles Under Louis XV; The Twilight of Versailles Under Louis XVI.

Space doesn't permit detailed review of each disc but there are plenty of treasures. I'm not a big fan of the air de cour, but the subtle beauties of music by Antoine Boesset and Robert Ballard receive sensitive and marvelously nuanced performances by soprano Monique Zanetti and lutenist Claire Antonini on the CD devoted to music from the salons of the early French Baroque.

For my tastes, things really get rolling during the reign of Louis XIV. There are two CDs of music by Jean-Baptist Lully including excerpts from his opera Amadis featuring the splendid soprano Véronique Gens. A second CD with excerpts from operas by André Cardinal Destouches, Marin Marais, Pascal Colasse and my favorite composer of the period, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, feature the sensational young mezzo-soprano Stéphanie d'Oustrac.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By OM on October 1, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Just be forewarned that this is a LIVE recording. For me, this ruined the experience of this timeless and beautiful music. The acoustics of the space are not ideal, a bit too bright and reverberant in some of the recordings. Most importantly, however, the audience noise and applause destroyed the perfection of the music. Others who are not disturbed or distracted by this aspect may well love and enjoy these recordings. I will stay with other recordings which retain the purity of the musical sound.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Discophage TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 6, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Other than a cryptic logo printed on the various track listings "CMBV saison anniversaire 2007 live", you won't know that this 20 CD set partly collates recordings made live in the fall of 2007, on the occasion of 20th anniversary of the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, the research and production center for French 17th-18th-Century music hosted at the Versailles Palace (so much more glamorous than to be a research and production center on rock music hosted in Nashville!). In fact, you don't even get a libretto, but instead a CD containing the documentation in .pdf form... only in French - and not convenient at all if you want to listen to the music from your computer, unless you copy all the documentation before... Other than that 2007 indication, dates of recordings are not given, but I was able to retrieve on the Internet a .pdf brochure of that 2007 festival, so I can reconstruct that info (for those interested: http://three dabya.versaillespourtous [dot] fr/pdf/Presse/2007/dosspress_Lebrun07 [dot] pdf). Seeing the Festival brochure is awe-inspiring: the festival was packed with concerts, given during four weekends from September 21 to October 21, from morning to night, with two simultaneously in different locations. I've checked on the first week-end, from Friday September 21 to Sunday 23, devoted to "The Pleasures of Versailles Under the Reign of Louis the 14th", and the box leaves out much more than it includes (including an organ recital of Gustav Leonhardt, a Charpentier-Lully concert by Christie and Les Arts Florissants, excerpts from Lully's Comedy-Operas by the Sinfonie du Marais under Hugo Reyne).Read more ›
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