Mstation Classical Reviews

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Thu, 01 Dec 2005

Rameau, Les Paladins

Jean-Phillipe Rameau, Les Paladins
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie
Jose Montalvo
2 DVDs, Opus Arte

This Comedie Lyrique in three parts was first produced in 1760 and was quite controversial. The problem was that many people were getting quite sick of the fossilised form of these things where mythical beings (those in charge) were lauded incessantantly. The times were a changing and although it is hard to tell just how interested Rameau might have been in the ordinary man, it is easy to imagine that his creative urges might have spurred him on.

It is said that part of his inspiration was the work of Pergolese and more particularly the whole, more humanist, Italian style of the time. He also added a degree of irony and self parody. The judgement of today is that he was very successful and this production actually seeks to capture the spirit by including all sorts of choreography that is anachcronistic -- break dancers and weird twitchy movements to the fore. As such it will annoy some fans of this period of music. It is not, however, a dumbing down and in fact it is quite a spectacle and the music itself has not been tampered with. So, like the original production must have seemed to those who saw it, it is a little odd. (Count K)

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