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<<  -- 2 --  Ron Bierman    SPRIGHTLY TEMPOS


The European Union Baroque Orchestra was established to give experience to talented young players. The average age is 25 and membership, based on invitations to audition, turns over every year. In spite of youth and frequent personnel changes, musicianship is indistinguishable from that of other fine baroque ensembles. The players are together and quite responsive to conductor Goodman's sometimes swift demand for tempo or dynamic change [listen -- track 17, 0:30-1:43]. The well-chosen music holds attention and entertains in these solid performances.

But these are authentic instrument and style performances. While such performances have come a long way from the sometimes sour and grating early days of revival, they remain a taste not yet acquired by all, and Goodman tends to be at the stricter end of authentic playing. I must admit to being taken by the more liberal approach of Marc Minkowski in the recent Archiv release of une symphonie imaginaire. Minkowski has taken liberties that may distress some. He has extracted pieces from various suites by Rameau (there is some overlap with the Goodman recording) and constructed a symphony (not really) from them. He too uses authentic instruments, but the band is larger, the sound closer to modern and the interpretation more adventurous. The work begins with the startling timpani of the Zaïs Overture and proceeds from there with spectacular results.

In this review however, the estimable Roy Goodman deserves the last word [listen -- track 20, 0:29-1:24].

Copyright © 27 November 2005 Ron Bierman, San Diego, USA


Rameau: Ballet Suites

8.557490 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 75'46" 2005 Naxos Rights International Ltd

European Union Baroque Orchestra; Roy Goodman, conductor

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764): Ballet suites from Platée (1745); Pigmalion (1748); Dardanus (1739 revised 1744 and 1760)




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