Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for years on end...
Les Délices brings to life the tales of Homer's famous epic with the release their 2nd album, “Myths & Allegories.” An imaginative collection of French Baroque music inspired by the Odyssey, the album weaves together vocal settings of Homer's tales with instrumental music inspired by his stories, including original adaptations of cantatas and excerpts from Jean-Fery Rebel's opera Ulysse by director Debra Nagy.
The Odyssey’s central theme – and the source of its universal appeal – is the enduring strength of love, hope, and fidelity, and their ability to withstand tests of time and tribulation. The Odyssey’s hero, Ulysses, confronts storms at sea, shipwreck, the tantalizing allure of siren songs, and magical slumber – all set to music in this colorful concept-album from Les Délices.
“Myths & Allegories” features American soprano Clara Rottsolk in Thomas-Louis Bourgeois little-known, early cantata Les Sirènes (1708), and Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre’s Le Sommeil d’Ulisse (1715) – an extended dramatic work that borrows features from opera. Acclaimed baroque violinist Julie Andrijeski presents the world-premiere recording of Jean-Féry Rebel’s adventurous, early sonata “La Fidelle,” which bursts with emotion and energy. Baroque oboist Debra Nagy contrasts Ulysses’s military campaigns with the more private, painful experiences of war in Michel Pignolet de Montéclair’s suite La Guerre. In the end, Ulysses & Penelope are joyfully reunited in airs from the closing scene of Rebel’s only opera, Ulysse (1703).
Taking up Bruce Haynes’s challenge from The End of Early Music (Oxford University Press, 2007), Les Délices is not just a “cover band.” Improvisation and composition in historical styles are touchstones of Les Délices’ approach. For this disc, Les Délices’ director Debra Nagy composed additional instrumental parts for both cantatas and excerpts from Jean-Féry Rebel’s 1703 opera Ulysse in an effort to seamlessly adapt these works to the ensemble. The resulting scores respond sensitively and stylistically to the original source materials, and are new, beautiful, and authentic in their own right.
Featured performers on this disc include soprano Clara Rottsolk, Baroque oboist and director, Debra Nagy, violinist Julie Andrijeski, Emily Walhout (viola da gamba), and Michael Sponseller (harpsichord).