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This short collection of 18th century French cantatas was an unexpected
— and really unlooked for — gem. Performed by the excellent Musiciens
du Louvre led by Marc Minkowski, it features works by Stuck, Clérambault,
and Blamont, three composers who are not exactly well known but who have
gotten some significant attention lately in the New Baroque Revival.

Very beautiful indeed is Stuck's "Pleurez, pleurez mes tristes yeux" —
worth a couple hundred listens I think. The Stuck cantata betrays its
slightly earlier origins compared to the Clérambault and the Blamont.
The Clérambault cantata is interesting both from a musical and historical
view, having been written to celebrate the return to good health of Louis XV
after an illness, Louis then being little more than a child. This cantata
is sung by the wonderful and off-the-wall Mireille Delunsch, one of my
favorites.

Something I found interesting here also is that both the arias "Servez
cet Amant glorieux" by Blamont and "Poursuits ta brillante carrière" by
Clérambault use a distinctive rising melodic line of tonic to supertonic
to mediant with a specific rhythm attached to it — a motíf which is also
prominent in Rameau's Platée. I am wondering if this might not be a
vocal motíf common to the French Baroque in general. But with only three
samples, even fairly random ones, it is impossible to determine.

An excellent album. And one that serves as a further reminder that the
Baroque was a much, much broader river than a traveler might think.

For more information on the works, see here.

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