Thursday, 9 December 2010

The Great Days of Campra - Versailles 1723

André Campra
The great days of Campra: the new chapel of Versailles in 1723
A concert by the Centre for Baroque Music of Versailles
Filmed on 2nd December 2010
Directed by Olivier Simonnet
Available on ARTE Live Web
Duration 1:18:17

Caroline Weynants - soprano
Robert Getchell - countertenor
François-Nicolas Geslot - tenor
Alain Buet - bass
Namur Chamber Choir
Les Agrémens
conducted by Guy van Waas

André Campra (1660-1744): Cum invocarem
Nicolas Bernier (1665-1734): Miserere
Michel-Richard de Lalande (1657-1726): Regina Caeli
Charles-Hubert Gervais (1671-1744): In convertendo

André Campra (1660-1744) is at the heart of the French Baroque: his music reflects both the continuity and evolution of style that earned France its prestigious position in Europe. His work is a perfect mosaic of genres and forms: it shows how the splendour of the early years of the reign of Louis XIV left its mark, but also how the brief regency and the reign of Louis XV opened new perspectives in art. A man of his time, Campra made use of the 'manière' of Lully and Lalande; but, enthusiastic about the latest music from Italy, he also showed himself as most prolific in evoking the homeland of Cavalli, Corelli and Scarlatti ... Through the medium of his opera-ballets, he transported the audience at the Académie Royale to completely unknown exotic lands.

Active in the cathedrals (from Notre Dame to the Chapelle Royale, as well as many convents in Paris), Campra is arguably the greatest composer between the death of Lully and the emergence of Rameau. With around twenty masterworks (several of which were hugely successful) he made a lasting mark on his time, both through the dramatic violence of his tragedies, and the bravura arias he scattered here and there to showcase the most beautiful voices of the Académie Royale.

From the chapel to the stage, the composer also shows he is a man of the world: he was the author of the most important corpus of French cantatas which, in the salons of Paris and Versailles, proved a lasting fashion.

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