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Charpentier: Le Malade Imaginaire, music and dances / William Christie, Les Arts Florissants

Notes & Reviews:

For the first time in 317 years, Les Arts Florissants brought together in 1990 the complete score of 'Le Malade imaginaire' as it was originally conceived by Charpentier to accompany Molière's final comedy. And now, for the first time on CD, you can hear, in its entirety, this legendary recording by William Christie.

Gramophone, April 1991
...As the Charpentier scholar, H. Wiley Hitchcock, remarks in his essay accompanying Christie's version, the musical history of Le ma/ode imaginaire is not a simple one. Lully's various ordinances obliged Charpentier not once, but at least three times, to revise his score, paring it down on each subsequent occasion to meet the ever more outrageous demands of Lully's "dictature musicale". From a mass of surviving material Hitchcock prepared a critical edition which provides the basis of Christie's performance. More recently, however, as I remarked in my review of Minkowski's version, another American scholar, John S. Powell, discovered an eighteenthcentury copy of the missing music of the first interméde and of the petit opéra impromptu. Since both of these are included in Christie's performance the Harmonia Mundi recording must be regarded as the more complete of the two...

BBC Music Magazine, January 2013
A delightful work. Christie knows exactly how to make the music leap off the page and Charpentier's airs and dances are full of elegance and charm.


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