Le Berger fidèle

Composer: Jean-Philippe Rameau (b. 1683 - d. 1764)
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Composer: Jean-Philippe Rameau (b. 1683 - d. 1764)

Performance date: 06/07/2016

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1728

Duration: 00:16:01

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Baroque Ensemble

Instrumentation Other: 3vn, ob, va, vc, rec, db, lu, hpd

Artists: Concerto Copenhagen (Antoine Toruncyzk [oboe], Fredrik From, Peter Spissky, Antina Hugosson [violins], Torbjörn Köhl [viola], Judith-Maria Blomsterberg [cello], Kate Hearne [cello, recorder], Marrias Frostenson [bass], Fredrik Bock [theorbo], Marcus Mohlin [harpsichord]) - [baroque ensemble]
Carolyn Sampson - [soprano]

In the early eighteenth-century a new genre of French music emerged – that of the chamber cantata. Jean-Baptiste Rousseau was the first French poet to write librettos for cantatas and the earliest French cantatas to be published were those of J.B. Morin in 1706.  The chamber cantata is the music of the royals and aristocrats, heard not in halls of opera and ballet but in smaller, more intimate surroundings usually with one or two singers and a small instrumental band. The language was largely operatic and, in the case of Rameau, often a place where he works out some of his later operatic ideas. The charm lies particularly in the recitatives, which allow the airs to grow out of their musical construction and action. Le Berger fidèle (The Faithful Shepherd) is a cantata based on a text from Italian poet Giovanni Battista Guarini. Handel also wrote music for the same poem. Unusually the cantata’s date of composition can be authenticated by a newspaper report of its performance on 22 November 1728 as a cantate nouvelle. Le Berger fidèle, despite being quintessentially French in style, had limited success during the composer’s lifetime. The cantata depicts the grief of the shepherd Myrtilus for his beloved Amaryllis who was to be sacrificed upon the angry instruction of Diana. Myrtilus’ pleading placates the goddess and he looks forward to a joyful reunion. The story is told in six short airs and recitatives.