Jean-Baptiste Lully: Ballet - Pascal Collasse : La naissance de Vénus (The Birth of Venus)
Deborah Cachet & Bénédicte Tauran (soprano), Ambroisine Bré (mezzo-soprano), Guy Cutting (tenor),
Philippe Estève & Guillaume Andieux (baritone)
Chœur de Chambre de Namur / Les Talens Lyriques
Musical Direction : Christophe Rousset
Choosing two sections as different as they are complementary, Christophe Rousset offers a musical painting of the birth of Venus with two works written thirty years apart: a court ballet by Lully (1665) and a pastoral by his pupil Collasse (1696).
Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) took up the subject in 1665 when the fashion was at court ballet. A great poet of the genre, Isaac de Benserade provided him with the verses on which the Florentine wrote the music, adding a few bars borrowed from Lambert and de Mollier. Louis XIV himself will dance in the piece when it was premiered at the Palais-Royal on January 26, 1665, with the participation of Mr. and Mrs. his wife, Henrietta of England, to whom the work was dedicated. The libretto describes in twelve successive entries the jubilation of the elements at the announcement of the birth of Venus and the adventures of the divinities governed by the passions.
Pascal Collasse (1649-1709) writes his Birth of Venus in the form of musical tragedy. Premiered at the Royal Academy of Music on May 1, 1696 to a libretto by Jean Pic, the work includes many violin arias by Lully. Fallen into oblivion and unprecedented, it presents a Venus whose birth provokes a true amorous intrigue within Olympus. The pastoral is conducive to many entertainments in which Collasse, former bar drummer at the Opera and just appointed in 1696 composer of the King's Chamber, reveals "his merit […] and the fruitfulness of his genius", to resume the very words of Titon du Tillet.