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HERREWEGHE, PHILIPPE The Harmonia Mundi Years. 30cds

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Herreweghe Philippe The Harmonia Mundi Years 30Cds

PHILIPPE HERREWEGHE The Harmonia Mundi Years

Philippe Herreweghe recorded for harmonia mundi from 1981 to 2008, nearly three decades during which he patiently revisited four centuries of repertory, offering a new approach to this music. Herreweghe's attitude to the scores he performs goes far beyond the printed editions, with the special insights he owes to his training as a psychiatrist and to an in-depth study of musical rhetoric in the Baroque period. In the latter respect, he takes his place as the spiritual heir to Nikolaus Harnoncourt and, still more, to Gustav Leonhardt. His adventure with harmonia mundi began in the early 1980s; among his earliest recordings for the label, then based in Saint-Michel-de-Provence before its move to Arles in 1986, was one of the very first exhumations on disc of the grands motets of Henry Du Mont, composer to the Chapelle Royale. This key institution of the reign of Louis XIV had given Philippe Herreweghe the name of the ensemble he founded in 1977, at a time when the second generation of 'Baroqueux' (as they were known in those days) were in the process of establishing a presence in all the leading venues of Europe and America, from concert hall to opera house: William Christie, Christophe Coin, René Jacobs, Ton Koopman, Gérard Lesne, Jordi Savall, John Eliot Gardiner, Christopher Hogwood – to name only a few.

From Mahler to Schoenberg is only a short step: in his regular collaborations with the Ensemble Musique Oblique, the maestro continued his incursions into musical worlds closer to us in time, from Webern to Kurt Weill, from Fauré to Pascal Dusapin – showing, every time, an exclusive attraction to masterpieces. Whatever the repertory or the style he tackles, Philippe Herreweghe's ambition is less to unearth rare works than to decipher the underlying meaning of the monuments of musical history. This was the resolve that prompted him to make two recordings of the St Matthew Passion and three of the B minor Mass (the second of these is on harmonia mundi) and to record two different versions of the St John Passion! Rather than call the score or the sources into question, his aim was to recover the original gesture and reveal the hidden signification and the philosophical ambitions of the work in question; these multiple attempts – all of them highly accomplished, as it happens – bear witness to a lifetime's efforts.

Harmonia Mundi 30cds HMX290882655

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