GLUCK Orphée et Eurydice Minkowski 4715822

The depth of their collective experience is evident in this youthful, highly expressive reading of the opera's 1774 Paris version, which sounds incredibly fresh and often totally wild.

What makes the set indispensible is the thrilling direction by Minkowski and the exhilaration of his orchestra.

. . . the later "Orphée", as Gluck envisaged it, remains a rarity, so much so that this recording, taken from stage performances in Poissy, France, two years ago, is the first of the complete 1774 score using period instruments. It is thrilling to hear, mainly because the playing and choral singing of Les Musiciens du Louvre under Marc Minkowski is so direct and boldy theatrical . . . this performance is a revelation -- grippingly dramatic. Hearing the thrilling effects that Minkowski conjures from his players and soloists, it is much easier to see why Gluck was an important model for many 19th-century opera composers . . .The solo singing, especially from Mireille Delunsch's Eurydice and Richard Croft's Orphée is very accomplished . . .

Though Gluck operas can lapse from contemplative nobility into dramatic inertia, this one is as vital and convincing as they come. Both Croft and Delunsch give a life-and-death intensity to the title roles, though the hero, ultimately, is conductor Minkowski. He makes the orchestra storm when appropriate, keeps the dramatic thread going even in endless ballet interludes, and never lets the characters turn into picturesque statues.

The choral and orchestral work is splendid . . . this "Orphée" is a winner.

. . . outstanding . . . Minkowski's Musiciens du Louvre sustain their usual high standard, both chorally and instrumentally . . . The chorus manages to vary its tone sufficiently for shepherds, furies and spectres, while the orchestra reserves its ultimate virtuosity for an 'Air des Furies', played with a fire that leaves the listener simply awestruck.

exceptional . . .

[Richard Croft's] Orpheus is impassioned and intensely human. His pleas to the Furies -- a properly terrifying bunch -- are movingly eloquent, and he despatches with panache the bravura showpiece Gluck wrote as a sop to Legros's vanity. Both soprano roles are vividly done (Mireille Delunsch both fiery and sensuous as Euridice) . . . Marc Minkowski directs with style and theatrical flair . . . exciting performance . . .

[John Story]: Personally, I find him the most convincing conductor of Gluck now before the public. His rhetorical fire, aided and abetted by the period sonority of his orchestra, gives a dramatic impetus to his readings that I find enthralling . . . The cast is splendid. Richard Croft is a wonderful Orphée . . . His coloratura, complete with an excellent trill, is remarkable in that act-I aria . . . more importantly, his use of verbal nuance and color to express the text is at every point vividly pointed. His rendition of the great act III aria is tremendous . . . Mireille Delunsch has been a stalwart of this series from the beginning and the appetite for her second Iphigénie and, above all, her Alceste, which are presumably forthcoming . . . Minkowski takes Berlioz's suggestion and has Eurydice's act-II aria sung by Claire Delgado-Boge as the unnamed Blessed Spirit . . . Chorus and orchestra are up to the usual standards of this team, as is the recording before an awesomely quiet audience . . . It is a good time to be a Gluck fan.
[James Canmer]: As the first recording of Gluck's 1774 "Orphée et Eurydice" . . . Marc Minkowski's new Archiv issue is a standout . . . Most happily, it is also a mostly marvelous recording in its own right, distinguished by the conducting of Marc Minkowski, both vigorous and tender . . . it is impossible not to be transported by the conductor and the wonderful plying of Les Musiciens du Louvre. . . Claire Delgado-Boge sings sweetly as Une Ombre heureuse in the pivotal "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" . . . Marion Harousseau is an unmitigated delight as L'Amour . . .
[Brian Robins]: As in the past, it has resulted in an intensely dramatic reading of the score that transmits itself to singers and orchestral players alike. One need only turn to the scene set at the entrance of Hades (act II/i) to be confronted with an utterly electrifying frisson, orchestral playing that sounds as if the very lives of the players are dependent upon it, and choral singing terrifying in the implacability of the "no"s that greet Orphée's plea. Yet there is also much sensitivity in Minkowski's direction . . . Mireille Delunsch's Eurydice is arrestingly tender in her first exchanges with Orphée . . . while Marion Harousseau is a charmingly youthful L'Amore . . . there is no doubting that Minkowski has performed a huge service in bringing us a long over-due and devastatingly theatrical version of the opera.

As always, Minkowski proves to be a livewire conductor, never afraid of an outpouring of emotions that might sweep the music off its feet. This is not a simple matter of speed, though some instrumental movements like the Overture and the 'Air de Furies' are propelled along by a force of energy that is almost explosive . . . What is different about Minkowski is his fluid impulsiveness -- unsettling to anybody used to old-style Gluck perhaps, but how involving this performance is, and how staid and formal most other sound in retrospect . . . Minkowski's choir and players are caught in full flight by Archiv's lively recording, which puts the listener in the best seat of the house. Collectors of Gluck have no reason to hesitate.

a first-class period instrument recording of "Orphée et 'Eurydice" . . . admirable care for lyrical beauty while evoking the Elysian Fields.

Bemerkenswert nicht nur die Breite der Farbenpalette von Chor und Orchester der Musiciens du Louvre, die dramatische Wahl der Tempi, die Präzision der Artikulation, sondern auch die Deutlichkeit der Empfindung. Jeder Moment hat auch für sich seine Wahrhaftigkeit.

Zupackende Dramatik und zugleich höchste Differenziertheit zeichnen die Interpretation von Marc Minkowski am Pult seiner Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble aus. Dem Orchester kommt hier keine bloße Begleitfunktion zu. Es reflektiert vielmehr die Gefühle der Protagonisten, was Minkowski hervorragend herausarbeitet.

Die frische Einspielung unter Marc Minkowski bringt die klassische Dramatik der Musik zur Geltung.

Fazit: eine überfällige Aufnahme, auf dem derzeit maximal möglichen Niveau interpretiert.

Minkowski und seine Musiker (und Tontechniker) haben das Kunststück fertig gebracht, uns fast nichts von den Bühnengeräuschen mit auf die CD zu packen. Dafür umso mehr von den Tönen der hervorragenden Sänger und Instrumentalisten. Minkowskis Musiker spielen natürlich auf ihren historischen Instrumenten und lassen hinsichtlich ihrer technischen wie musikalischen Fähigkeiten gar nicht an eventuelle weitere Wünsche denken. Und Minkowski spielt auf diesem Ensemble wie auf einem einzigen Instrument, variiert bis in die kleinsten Details die Klangfarben und agogischen Möglichkeiten, holt überall kleine und größere Aktionen heraus, bleibt ständig in Bewegung und wirkt auch bei den teilweise horrenden Tempi, die er anschlägt, doch nie verhetzt oder auch nur angespannt, sondern scheint stets locker und in den größten Turbulenzen noch lustvoll entspannt zu bleiben. Kein Wunder, geraten die Furien- und Geistermusiken sowohl in höllischen wie elysischen Sphären wundervoll dramatisch beziehungsweise wunderschön ätherisch (Flötensolo im Reigen seliger Geister!). Bei so viel musikalischer Delikatesse und musikantischem Temperament mögen auch die Sänger nicht zurückstehen . . .

Minkowskis spannungsreiche, vibrierende Orchesterführung und das exzellente Spiel der Musiciens du Louvre überzeugen . . .

Sous son énergique baguette, on découvre un grand spectacle "à la francaise" . . .

. . . le plus incontestable bonheur de cette entreprise, ce sont Marc Minkowski et ses Musiciens du Louvre qui nous l'offrent . . . parce que tout est souplesse, vie, mouvement dans leur approche . . . Ecoutez, tout au long des trois actes, avec quelle allure et quelle densité le récit avance ; avec quels contrastes la voix d'Orphée, baignée de douceur, répond au choeur des Furies, terrifiant ; comment, en un quart de mesure, la noirceur des enfers fait place à l'ample respiration des champs Elysées . . . C'est avec les mêmes dons d'architecte que Minkowski aborde le ballet final, apothéose de la danse et de l'orchestre, fête des sens et du coloris qui laisse entrevoir tout ce que l'ensemble et leur chef ont à dire dans la symphonie classique.

. . . la nouvelle version Archiv . . . est à la hauteur de nos espoirs, confirmant les affinités de Marc Minkowski et des ses Musiciens du Louvre . . . avec le Gluck français . . . Minkowski est admirablement secondé dans sa tâche par Mireille Delunsch toute de jeunesse et d'expressivité en Eurydice, Marion Harousseau ravissante en Amour, et, surtout, Richard Croft de bout en bout remarquable dans le rôle principal . . . Un disque essentiel . . .

Elegante y seguro de sí mismo, Minkowski dota de gran fuerza a [la] partitura . . . El conjunto resulta magnificente y sereno . . . el delicioso personaje de Amor está cantado por la joven de 16 años Marion Harousseau que, en vista de las aptitudes demostradas, tiene asegurada una prometedora carrera.

No podía ser otro que Marc Minkowski quien llevara a cabo la empresa de crear una versión de referencia del Orfeo francés y lo consigue gracias a Les Musiciens du Louvre, que realizan una labor excepcional en la búsqueda de la recuperación del sonido original . . .