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Les Elemens: Marais and Rebel

Palladians / The Palladian Ensemble

Les Elemens: Marais and Rebel

CKD 221 (Linn Records)
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CD Quality

FLAC 16bit 44.1kHz 304.9MB $13.00

CD Quality

ALAC 16bit 44.1kHz 312.7MB $13.00

MP3

MP3 320k 44.1kHz 159.1MB $11.00
Prices shown in US Dollars



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Tracks: Listen and Download

Format
Track Time Listen
1
Les Elemens Le Cahos

Les Elemens Le Cahos

Composer Jean Fery Rebel
6:07 Play $3.40
2
Air pour les violons (La Terre et L'Eau) - Chaconne (L'Air)

Air pour les violons (La Terre et L'Eau) - Chaconne (L'Air)

Composer Jean Fery Rebel
2:41 Play $1.70
3
Ramage (L'Air)

Ramage (L'Air)

Composer Jean Fery Rebel
1:23 Play $1.70
4
Rossignolo

Rossignolo

Composer Jean Fery Rebel
1:42 Play $1.70
5
Loure

Loure

Composer Jean Fery Rebel
1:40 Play $1.70
6
Tambourin

Tambourin

Composer Jean Fery Rebel
2:04 Play $1.70
7
Sicillienne

Sicillienne

Composer Jean Fery Rebel
1:34 Play $1.70
8
Caprice

Caprice

Composer Jean Fery Rebel
2:28 Play $1.70
9
Suite in A Minor Prelude

Suite in A Minor Prelude

Composer Marin Marais
3:19 Play $1.70
10
Fantasie

Fantasie

Composer Marin Marais
4:13 Play $1.70
11
Tombeau de Mr Meliton

Tombeau de Mr Meliton

Composer Marin Marais
7:03 Play $3.40
12
Rondeau moitié pincé et moitié coup

Rondeau moitié pincé et moitié coup

Composer Marin Marais
3:55 Play $1.70
13
Chaconne

Chaconne

Composer Marin Marais
6:08 Play $3.40
14
Sarabande grave

Sarabande grave

Composer Marin Marais
3:13 Play $1.70
15
Le petit badinage

Le petit badinage

Composer Marin Marais
1:42 Play $1.70
16
Rondeau le Troulleur

Rondeau le Troulleur

Composer Marin Marais
3:47 Play $1.70
17
Folies d'Espagne

Folies d'Espagne

Composer Marin Marais
14:37 Play $5.10
Total Running Time 68 minutes Purchase all tracks 
$13.00 
Prices shown in US Dollars

A powerful performance of French baroque by Rebel and Marais from the popular Palladians. 

'The music making is gratifyingly direct – gripping, animated, and sometimes positively visceral' (International Record Review).

The SACD layer is both 4.1 channel and 2-channel.

Download includes - cover art, booklet
Palladians / The Palladian Ensemble

Palladians / The Palladian Ensemble

Firmly established on the international stage as one of the very best chamber groups performing baroque repertoire with a reputation for sparkling, joyful playing.
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Pamela Thorby

Pamela Thorby

Always stylish in whichever repertoire she chooses, Pamela's wide appeal stems from an innate love of communicating through her playing, a natural, dynamic stage presence and a sophisticated and intelligent use of her virtuosic skills.
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Rodolfo Richter

Rodolfo Richter

Acclaimed violin virtuoso best known for his work with the award-winning ensemble Palladians.
profile & recordings >>
William Carter

William Carter

William Carter is a founding member of the acclaimed Palladians and a virtuoso player of the baroque guitar and theorbo.
profile & recordings >>

Produced by Philip Hobbs

Available on CD as part of The Versailles Collection: The Sun King's Paradise / Les Elemens

Pamela Thorby - recorders
Rodolfo Richter - violin
Susanne Heinrich - bass viol
William Carter - guitar, lute, theorbo

Les Elemens 

The thunderous dissonance which opens 'Les Elemens' is probably the most shocking and original single bar of music composed up to that time. How much more extraordinary to reflect that it was written by a 71 year old pensioner whose music had been previously praised for its 'Wisdom, Taste and Tenderness' and its avoidance of the 'Frightening and Monstrous'!

Jean-Féry Rebel enjoyed a long and productive career as one of Louis XIV favoured musicians. He was presented at court at the age of 8 by his father, a royal musician, where he reportedly astonished the King with his virtuosity on the violin. He was encouraged by Lully and rose through the ranks to eventually direct the 24 Violons du Roy. When he stepped down from conducting the Concert Spirituel in 1735 he had a long series of successful instrumental works and ballet scores to look back on (although his one Opera; Ulysse, was a failure) However, he was soon tempted out of retirement by Prince Carignan to write the score that has become his most famous: 'Les Elemens'. The work was premiered in 1737 without the opening movement Le Cahos. The "Mercure de France" reported,

'On the 27th of September the Royal Academy of Music played, after the Opera 'Cadmus' a new symphonic work, by Mr. Rebel Senior (Rebel's son was also a prominent musician) entitled 'The Elements', danced by Mlles. Salle and Mariette and by Ms. Dumoulin, Dupre, Malter and Javilliers. This Divertissement, which was perfectly executed, and much applauded, is adorned with a set which characterized the Elements and made a very grand effect.'

The same journal in 1738 tells us:

‘On the 17th and 22nd of March there were performances of 'Chaos' by M. Rebel Senior, the which, in the judgment of the greatest Connoisseurs, is one of the most beautiful symphonic works in this genre...a pure symphony without dance or pantomime.'

Rebel's forward to the work gives us a glimpse of his thoughts:

‘The introduction to this work is Chaos itself; that confusion which reigned among the Elements before the moment when, subject to immutable laws, they assumed their prescribed places within the natural order. This initial idea led me somewhat further. I have dared to link the idea of the confusion of the Elements with that of confusion in Harmony. I have risked opening with all the notes sounding together, or rather, all the notes in an octave played as a single sound. To designate, in this confusion, each particular element, I have availed myself of some widely accepted conventions. The bass expresses Earth by tied notes which are played jerkily. The flutes, with their rising and falling line, imitate the flow and murmur of Water. Air is depicted by pauses followed by cadenzas on the small flutes, and finally the violins, with their liveliness and brilliance represent the activity of Fire. These characteristics may be recognized, separate or intermingled, in whole or in part, in the diverse reprises that I have called Chaos, and which mark the efforts of the Elements to get free of each other. At the 7th appearance of Chaos these efforts diminish as order begins to assert itself...'

The suite which follows Chaos is filled with imaginative touches. In the opening Air, the violin and bass heavily portray Earth while the flute (or in this case, recorder) imitates the flow of Water over the top. Fire is the subtitle of the brilliant duple time Chaconne which follows, and Air is portrayed in the next two movements; Ramage (warbling) and Rossignols (Nightingales). Rebel then relaxes his programmatic strictures (at the request of his dancers?) and gives us a Loure with hunting calls, two rustic Tambourins, a beautiful canonic Sicilienne, and a final brilliant Caprice. So why make an arrangement for 4 players of a large scale symphonic work?

Sadly, Rebel's full score doesn't survive and every performance of Les Elemens, orchestral or otherwise, is in some measure an adaptation. But interestingly, this doesn't necessarily work against his intentions. What does survive is a short score which he published shortly after the premiere (this was the most common way to disseminate orchestral music at the time); 1 or 2 treble lines and a figured bass with occasional indications of scoring, which was intended for use in the home. By publishing the work in this format Rebel was opening up the possibility of performances by forces as intimate as ours, and indeed the score contains helpful advice on how to adjust certain movements so that they can even be performed by a single flute and harpsichord. It seems natural to us to pair Rebel with his friend and colleague at court; Marin Marais. And, in keeping with the theme of arrangement, we wanted to take up the challenge that Marais makes to purchasers of his 2nd book of piéces de viole; 'I have taken care in composing these works to make them suitable for performance upon all sorts of instruments; the Organ, Harpsichord, Theorbo, Lute, Violin, Flute (he expands this list in his 3rd book to include the Guitar and Recorder), and I dare to flatter myself that I have succeeded...' (I'd love to hear some Marais played on a large French Baroque Organ!) Marais also comments that in making arrangements he finds the combination of string and wind instruments particularly successful; ' Fort Agreable'.

Our Suite in A minor is drawn from various places: The Prelude and Rondeau from Book 5, The Fantasie from Book 2, and the Tombeau (for his friend and mentor Pierre Meliton) and Chaconne from Book 1.The epic set of variations on "La Folia" which close our programme are also from Book 2 although they exist in a manuscript version which would place them among his earliest works. All scholarship aside though, at the end of the day, the only reason to make an arrangement of a piece of music (or indeed, to play music at all) is that you love it and think you can make it sound good. We cerainly love this music and can only hope that you will enjoy listening as much as we did playing!

William Carter, London 2003

Palladian Ensemble features on Building a Library
13 June 2009
The Palladian Ensemble plays with real eloquence
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Gramophone
Beautiful.
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ClassicToday.com
4½ Stars
This is music for fun, and the performances fully convey its pleasures and delights.
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The Observer
Virtuosic gusto.
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International Record Review
...gripping, animated, and sometimes positively visceral. Recommended.
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