Les Arts Florissants (ensemble)

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Baroque period instruments: a hurdy gurdy, a viola da gamba, a lute, a baroque violin, and baroque guitar.

Les Arts Florissants is a Baroque musical ensemble in residence at the Théâtre de Caen in Caen, France. The organization was founded by conductor William Christie in 1979. The ensemble derives its name from the 1685 opera by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. The organization consists of a chamber orchestra of period instruments and a small vocal ensemble. Current notable members include soprano Danielle de Niese and tenor Paul Agnew, who has served as assistant conductor since 2007. Jonathan Cohen is also on the conducting staff. Christie remains the organization's Artistic Director.

Although not specifically a baroque opera ensemble, it is within this field that Les Arts Florissants has achieved its greatest successes. The majority of the ensemble's performances are of period operas (both staged and in concert), many of which are available on CD on the Harmonia Mundi and Erato labels and on DVD. The group first drew international acclaim in the area of opera in December 1986-January 1987 with a production of Jean-Baptiste Lully's Atys at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. The opera had not been performed since 1753 and Christie had unearthed the score at the Bibliothèque nationale de France and created a performing edition. William Christie: "There were a number of important moments in the history of the Arts Florissants, but there's one moment that obviously stands out - and that's the moment when we produced Atys." Christie had been approached by the director of the Paris Opera, Massimo Bogianckino, to think about putting on a Lully opera. Christie was advised by the Opéra-Comique's Thierry Fouquet that Quinault's libretto for Atys would demand an extraordinary stage director - Jean-Marie Villégier took this role [1]and he, together with Christie, created Atys. The production marked the renaissance of Baroque Opera in France. The ensemble has continued in a similar vein of presenting rarely heard works at their home in Caen and on the stages of major opera houses and concert venues like the Teatro Real, the Opéra national du Rhin, the Opéra National de Paris, Carnegie Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Barbican Centre. The ensemble also occasionally presents works from the standard repertoire, most particularly a number of operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Les Arts Florissants has also had a number of successes in the concert repertoire. The organization has performed and recorded a number of oratorios, cantatas, madrigals, masses, motets, and other musical forms typical of early music. Occasionally the ensemble has made forays into contemporary repertoire, notably performing the world premiere of Betsy Jolas's Motets III - Hunc igitur terrorem at a gala on the occasion of the ensemble's 20th anniversary in 1999.

Many former members of Les Arts Florissants have gone on to have successful music careers outside of the organization. These include several internationally renowned conductors in the field of early music, including Marc Minkowski (founder of Les Musiciens du Louvre), Christophe Rousset (founder of Les Talens Lyriques), Hugo Reyne (founder of La Simphonie du Marais), and Hervé Niquet (founder of Le Concert Spirituel).

Partial list of productions[edit]

Discography[edit]

  • A Purcell companion, Henry Purcell, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1994
  • Acis and Galatea, George Frideric Handel, Paris, Erato, 1999
  • Actéon, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Saint-Michel-de-Provence, Harmonia Mundi, 1982
    Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632–1687)

    The 1986 production of his opera Atys by Les Arts Florissants brought the ensemble to international attention. The opera was subsequently recorded by the group for Harmonia Mundi in 1993
  • Actéon Intermède pour Le mariage forcé, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 2001
  • Airs de cour (1689), Michel Lambert, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1992
  • Alcina, George Frideric Handel, Paris, Erato, 2000
  • Actéon Intermède pour Le mariage forcé, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Saint-Michel-de-Provence, Harmonia, 1981
  • Anacréon ballet en un acte, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Saint-Michel-de-Provence, Harmonia Mundi, 1982
  • Antiennes "O" de l'Avent, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1993
  • Atys tragédie lyrique en un prologue et cinq actes ; Dies Irae ; Petits motets ; Airs pour le clavecin, Jean Baptiste Lully, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1993
  • Ballo delle ingrate : livre VIII des madrigaux ; Sestina, Claudio Monteverdi, Saint-Michel-de-Provence, Harmonia Mundi, 1983
  • Baroque festival vol. 1., Firenze, CD Classica, 1993
  • Caecelia, virgo et martyr Filius prodigus : H. 399 ; Magnificat, H. 73, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 2003
  • Cantates, Louis-Nicolas Clérambault, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1990
  • Cantates françaises d’André Campra, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 2000
  • Cantique de Moÿse ; Veni sponsa mea ; Trois fantaisies à quatre pour les violes ; Espoir de toute âme affligée ; O bone Jesu d’Étienne Moulinié, Saint-Michel-de-Provence, Harmonia Mundi, 1980
  • Castor & Pollux : chœurs et danses, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1999
  • Chansons de la Renaissance, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 2005
  • Concerti grossi op. 6, George Frideric Handel, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1995
  • David et Jonathas, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1998
  • De Lully à Rameau, Jean Baptiste Lully, et al., Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1996
  • Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers H.488, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Paris, Erato, 1995
  • Deux Oratorios, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Saint-Michel-de-Provence, Harmonia Mundi, 1980
  • Dido & Æneas, Henry Purcell, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1994
  • Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Paris, Erato, 1999
  • Die Zauberflöte KV 620, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Paris, Erato, 1996
  • Divertissements, airs et concerts de Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Paris, Erato, 1999
  • Grands Motets lorrains pour Louis XIV, Henry Desmarest, Paris, Erato, 2000
  • Great Mass in C minor K.427, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Paris, Erato, 1999
  • Hippolyte et Aricie, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Paris, Erato, 1997
  • Idoménée, André Campra, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1992
  • Il Ballo delle ingrate Sestina, Claudio Monteverdi, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1996
  • Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Claudio Monteverdi, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1997
  • Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, Claudio Monteverdi, [S.l.], Virgin Classics, 2003
  • Il Sant'Alessio, Stefano Landi, Paris, Erato, 1996
  • In nativitatem Domini canticum : un oratorio de Noël, H. 416 ; Sur la naissance de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ : H. 482, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Saint-Michel-de-Provence, Harmonia Mundi, 1983
  • Jefferson in Paris, Richard Robbins, New York, Angel, 1995
  • Jephté, Michel Pignolet de Montéclair, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 2002
  • King Arthur, Henry Purcell, [S.l.n.d.], 1995
  • La musique sacrée à travers les âges, Marc-Antoine Charpentier et al., [S.l.], Harmonia Mundi, 1998
  • La reine des fées, Henry Purcell, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1989
  • Le Cantique de Moÿse, Étienne Moulinié, Arles, Harmonia Mundii, 2004
  • Le Grand Siècle français musique au temps de Louis XIV de Kenneth Gilbert, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1997
  • Le malade imaginaire, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1990
  • Le reniement de Saint Pierre ; Méditations pour la Carême, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Saint-Michel-de-Provence, Harmonia Mundi, 1985
  • Leçons de ténèbres, François Couperin, Paris, Erato, 1997
  • Les antiennes "O" de l'Avent : H 36 à 43 ; Noël sur les instruments : H 534 ; In Nativitatem D.N.J.C. canticum : H 414, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1990
  • Les Arts florissants : Idylle en musique ; Intermède pour le mariage forcé et la comtesse d'Escarbagnas, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Saint-Michel de Provence, Harmonia Mundi, 1982
  • Les Boréades, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Waldron, Opus Arte, 2004
  • Les divertissements de Versailles, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Paris, Erato, 2002
  • Les fêtes d’Hébé, Jean-Philippe Rameau, [S.l.s.n.], 1997
  • Les Indes galantes, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Waldron, Opus Arte, 2005
  • Le jardin des voix, William Christie, [S.l.], Virgin Classics, 2006
  • Les vingt figures réthoriques [sic] d'une passion XXe festival de Saintes, Francesco Cavalli, Luigi Rossi, et al. [S.l.], K. 617, 1991
  • Louis XIV Musique à Versailles au temps du Roi Soleil, [S.l.], Harmonia Mundi, 2004
  • Lully, Jean Baptiste Lully, Arles, France : Harmonia Mundi, 1993
  • Madrigal classique, madrigal soliste, comédie madrigalesque. L’âge d’or du madrigal, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1998
  • Madrigaux à 5 voix, Carlo Gesualdo, prince de Venosa, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1988
  • Madrigaux des VIIe et VIIIe livres, Claudio Monteverdi, Saint-Michel de Provence, Harmonia Mundi, 1981
  • Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 2004
  • Médée, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1984
  • Messiah, George Frideric Handel, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1994
  • Motets & madrigaux Il ballo delle ingrate ; Selva morale ; L'incoronazione di Poppea, Claudio Monteverdi, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1992
  • Motets, Guillaume Bouzignac, [S.l.n.d], 1993
  • Mozart, Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, Schäfer, Petibon, Christie, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, [S.l.n.d], 1999
  • Musique de ballet 1979-1999 : 20e anniversaire Les Arts Florissants, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Paris, Erato, 1999
  • Opera's first master The musical dramas of Claudio Monteverdi, Claudio Monteverdi, Pompton Plains, Amadeus Press, 2006
  • Oratorio per la Settimana Santa ; Un peccator pentito, Luigi Rossi, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1989
  • Orfeo, Luigi Rossi, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1991
  • Pastorale sur la naissance de N.S. Jesus-Christ, H. 483 ; Magnificat à 3 voix, H. 73, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Saint-Michel de Provence, Harmonia Mundi, 1981
  • Petits motets, Michel-Richard Delalande, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1997
  • Pièces de clavecin (1724) Les Indes galantes: suite d'orchestre ; Anacréon : ballet en un acte, scène 5 ; In convertendo, grand motet, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1992
  • Pierre Philosophale, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Paris, Erato, 1999
  • Pygmalion ; Nélée et Myrthis, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1992
  • Rameau, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Arles, Harmonia Mundi Plus, 1992
  • Reniement de Saint-Pierre, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, [S.l.s.n.], 1985
  • Requiem : KV. 626 Ave verum corpus : KV 618 Introitus, Kyrie, Dies irae (excerpts), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Paris, Erato, 1995
  • Selva morale e spirituale , Claudio Monteverdi, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 2003
  • Soleil musiques au siècle de Louis XIV, Paris, Erato, 1999
  • Te Deum ; motets, Guillaume Bouzignac, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1993
  • Te Deum ; Super flumina Babilonis ; Confitebor tibi Domine, Michel-Richard Delalande, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1991
  • Te Deum, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1997
  • Theodora, George Frideric Handel, Paris, Erato, 2003
  • Un Oratorio de Noël ; In nativitatem Domini canticum, H. 416 ; Sur la naissance de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ H. 482 de Marc Antoine Charpentier, Saint-Michel-de-Provence, Harmonia Mundi, 1983
  • Voyage en Italie : deux siècles de musique à Rome, Venise, Ferrare, 1550-1750, Arles, Harmonia Mundi, 1998
  • Zoroastre, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Paris, Erato, 2002

Sources[edit]

  • Deshoulières, Christophe (1999). William Christie et les théâtres des Arts florissants : 1979-1999. Colin. ISBN 2-200-25095-9. 
  • Rouvière, Olivier (2004). Les Arts florissants de William Christie. Gallimard. ISBN 2-07-073274-6. 
  • Massip, Catherine (2011). William Christie et Les Arts Florissants, 30 années en images. Images En Manoeuvress Editions. ISBN 978-2-84995-192-7. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Les Arts Florissants ou La Bande à Bill, film by Reiner E. Moritz, 2005

External links[edit]