Les Musiciens du Louvre with Marc Minkowski

Rameau: Une Symphonie Imaginaire

Here is a vibrantly performed series of delights for the ear and mind: Music by the Baroque master Jean-Philippe Rameau. The album’s title, Une Symphonie Imaginaire, is a description of the aesthetic effect of this all-Rameau program. It’s an “imaginary symphony” of sonic wonders brought together by Marc Minkowski, leading Les Musiciens du Louvre, an original instruments ensemble that, for a change, does not sound at all dry and creaky. The opener is startling. Rameau’s overture to “Zaïs” (1748) depicts what the composer described as “the disentangling of Chaos and the shock felt by the elements as they are distilled.” The wild music foreshadows Beethoven in its sense of sweep, drama and bluntness. Various other pieces from Rameau’s opera-ballets follow, all lyrical and exhilarating.