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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who love period instrument music.
This box set I highly recommend, which has mainly Hogwood directing the small orchestra of the Academy of Ancient music. Why? you may ask. For this box is a treasure chest full of gems. For example,the gently sounding Messiah, Albinoni 12 Concerto's, Op 9, Pergolesi Stabat Mater, Rebel Les Elements and so forth. But before I write the details about the box and tiny...
Published 12 months ago by Ultrarunner

versus
17 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not what I expected
I bought this box as soon as it was released. My expectations were great: a 50 CD box of the most beautiful music of all time: baroque music. There are the traditional "great hits" in this box (the brandenburgs, the seasons, water music...), but there are also much more works of lesser known composers (pisendel, blow, arne, rebel...).

So, why my...
Published 12 months ago by Arnau Puig


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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who love period instrument music., 9 May 2014
By 
Ultrarunner (Perth-West Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: L'Oiseau: The Baroque Era (Lyre Edition) (Audio CD)
This box set I highly recommend, which has mainly Hogwood directing the small orchestra of the Academy of Ancient music. Why? you may ask. For this box is a treasure chest full of gems. For example,the gently sounding Messiah, Albinoni 12 Concerto's, Op 9, Pergolesi Stabat Mater, Rebel Les Elements and so forth. But before I write the details about the box and tiny reviews of the music, I shall write details about the Baroque era and the founder of L'Oiseau. The former because there might be those who do not know how it influenced music.

In music Baroque is often used to suggest little more than an ornate and rather theatrical style. This era was the age of the virtuoso such as Scarlatti. Also, composers such as Vivaldi, who were eager to put their talents in the spotlight. The Four seasons is the best example. During this period new vocal forms came into being, opera, the Cantata and the oratorio, and instrumental forms such as the Sonata and the concerto. However, most new musical ideas originated in Italy. Baroque was a sensual rather than a intellectual style with its love of movement, and richness of colour; appealing to the emotions which sums up Baroque Art.

Australian Louise Hanson-Dyer (1884-1962) founded a specialist music publishing house in Paris, she called it L' Oiseau-Lyre (after the Australian Lyre bird) in the early 1930's. A decade later followed a record company with the same name. She was a wealthy woman so she could indulge herself in her passion, with the help of her first and second Husbands, plus musicians such as Thurston Dart. She had a mania for quality at all stages of preparation and production, that was why L'Oiseau-Lyre was known for its high quality products. Thus, through her company, Louise championed Baroque music and other forgotten works played on modern instruments and they were recorded, but she did not forget modern music of her time either. She signed up with Decca to distribute her records outside of France. After Louise died, years later her husband sold the company to Decca. But the period instrument movement only took off after she died. But you may now realize why this box set has been well thought out. This is a way to pay homage to the founder of L' Oiseau-Lyre. (Gramophone November 1994.)

This is the smallest cardboard box set of 50 CDs I have seen, with a lid attached to the box, which flips open to show the lyre bird on a white back ground. White being the dominant colour. Around the sides are paintings from the Baroque period. Underneath, CD number,composer and music to be played and orchestra, generally Hogwood, occasionally, Picket, with Rousset, Dantone and Antonini. It is a pretty artistic little box. The cardboard sleeves are the originals, with paintings of the Baroque period on the front, with composer and orchestra, usually the Academy of Ancient music.(AAM) Behind,the background is black with writng in white. CD number, composer, track numbers and music to be played. The CDs are white with CD number, Composer and music to be played, plus orchestra, director and soloist. Amid the 50 CDs are 5 double Sleeves and one treble. All CDs are easy to get out of the Sleeve. The sound is excellent. Decca is renowned for that. Stereo and DDD. Booklet in English,French and German. CD Cue points (track numbers etc.) The L'Oiseau story and the Repertoire. No translations or CD Rom. However,it states in the back of the Booklet where you can down load translations. Recordings from 1973-2009.

I will place the composer first, orchestra, soloists and conductor, plus comments. I will not write down details of every CD, as Amazon has done that. I just want to give you an idea of what this amazing box is like. I will go across the page as I usually do.

BRITAIN:

ARNE: Eight Overtures. The Academy of Ancient Music. Hogwood. The overtures besides showing a pleasing individuality of invention, are formally imaginative and not following French or Italian trends. Makes for enjoyable listening. BOYCE: Eight Symphonies. Academy of Ancient music. Hogwood. They turn in performances that are lively and very sensitively shaped. BLOW:Venus and Adonis. Catherine Bott. Michael George. New London Consort. Pickett. Bott is an imaginative, enticing Venus.and George a strongly characterized Adonis. The result is that the drama springs to life with unexpected vividness. This is a far deeper work than expected. PURCELL: Theatre music. Abdelazer. Distressed Innocence. The married beau. The Gordion knot untied. Joy Roberts-Soprano. AAM cond Hogwood. The dances and overtures so little heard comes up with striking sense of newness. PURCELL: THE INDIAN QUEEN. Emma Kirkby, Catherine Bott. John Ainsley. David Thomas. Gerald Finley. AAM cond Hogwood. Left uncomplete at his death. Ainsley, Kirkby and Bott all make outstanding contributions. The performance is constantly convincing. PURCELL: Restoration Theatre songs. Also, Blow, Eccles, Locke. Catherine Bott soprano. She brings these beautiful songs to life, with her emotional voice.

HANDEL: Water music-suite. The music for the Royal Fireworks. AAM cond Hogwood. Can be condisered amongest the best available. HANDEL: Concerti Grossi op 9. 12 Grand concerto's. Handel and Haydn Society cond Hogwood. Marvellous music played superbly. Highly tuneful. When you are tense it is the ideal music to listen to. HANDEL: Messiah. Judith Nelson. Emma Kikby. soprano's. Carolyn Watkinson contralto. Paul Elliot tenor. David Thomas Bass. The choir of Christ church cathedral, Oxford. AAM cond Hogwood. He is faithful to Handel's original intensions- a boy's choir. Also, the orchestra whose size and instruments Handel would have recognized. Light orchestration, almost meditative and is easy on the ear. HANDEL: La Resurrezione: Kirkby. Kwella. Watkinson. Partridge. Thomas. AAM Hogwood. He directs a clean cut, vigorous performance with a excellent cast. HANDEL:ORLANDO: Bowman. Auger. Robbin. Kirky. Thomas. AAM cond Hogwood. He has assembled a near ideal cast with Auger at her most radiant as the queen. Kirkby bright and fresh. This is Hogwoods finest achievement on CD. There is a DVD and Bluray of Handel's Giulio Cesare cond William Christie, an American, now a French citizen. Singers, Sarah Connolly, Pat Bardon, Danielle De Niese, an Australian and Chris Maltman. Excellent.

GERMANY:

J. S BACH: Goldberg Variations. Christophe Rousset harpschord. Very real and believable. His playing has great freshness. J.S BACH: Brandenburg Concerto's. New London Consort Pickett. Swift and brings the melodies to the fore. J.S BACH: Coffee Cantata. Peasant Cantata. Kirkby. Thomas. Covey-Crump. AAM cond Hopwood. Kirkby is appealing in the Coffee Cantata. Her father is portrayed by Thomas. TELEMANN: Double and Triple Concerto's. AAM Hogwood. Polish ideas are to be found in three of these concero's played here. These performances are excellent. BIBER: Requiem in F minor. Serenada "Der Nachtwachter". Balletae a 4: Battalia a 10: Sonata a 6 in B "Die baurern Kirchfarht genandt." Picket calls the Serenada in which Simon Grant participates and the Sonata a tour de force. Bott. Bonner. Robson. Ainsley and George. New London Consort. Pickett. Picket lays out his forces for the Requiem as they would have been positioned in Salzburg Cathedral in the 1690's. The piece is powerful. Fine singing, remarkable music.

FRANCE:

MUSIQUE Pour La Chambre du Roy. Music at Versailles 1697-1747. Judith Nelson. Christophe Coin. Monica Huggett. AAM. Hogwood. COUPERIN: Sonade La Francoise. (Les Nations). Airs serieux. DE MONTECLAIR: Cantata. " Le Triomfe de la Constance." Is charming pastorial lyrical enjoyable music. FORQUERAY "Le Fils". Suite 1. COUPERIN: Suite de Simphonie en trio. LECLAIR: "L Aine". Sonata in D major. MARAIS: Suite in F minor. Le Tableau de L' Operation de Taille. De MONTECLAIR: Cantata "Pan et Syrinx." Judith Nelson is very touching in Pan's lament. REBEL: Les Elemens. DESTOUCHES: Les Elements. AAM Hogwood. Rebel's Les Elemens is one of the most original works of the period. Highly tuneful like Rameau. Hogwood lets the orchestra rip. Opening bars almost modern. Detouches is as good. RAMEAU: Overtures Les Talens Lyriques cond Rousset. All Rameau's overtures. I own the DVD of Rameau's Les Indes gelantes and Les Paladines. Les Arts Florissants cond William Christie. The singing and scenery are brilliant and what beautiful melodies. Buy the former first if you are interested. COUPERIN: Trois Lecons de tenebres pour le Mercredi saint. Victoria! Christo resurgenti. Nelson. Kirkby. Ryan viola da Gamba. Hogwood chamber organ.The music was written for performance on Good Friday. Couperin's settings had female voices in mind. He could scarely have hoped for more ethereal timbres then those of Nelson and Kirkby.

ITALY:

ALBINONI: 12 concerto's, op 9. Manze,violin. De Bruine, Bernardini, oboes. AAM Hogwood. Albinoni finest concerto's are as fine as those of Vivaldi, for example No 2. Hogwoods tempi are swift, yet he captures the emotion of the concero's. The oboes are beautifully played. CARISSIMI: Eight Cantatas. Hill, Spencer, Jones. Hogwood. The secular songs sung by Hill make you wonder why his sacred music has long overshadowed his secular music. PERGOLESI:Stabat Mater. Salve Regina. Emma Kirkby. James Bowman. AAM Hogwood. The Stabat mater was written in the last few months of his brief life. Both Bowman and Kirkby both revel in Pergolesi's sensuous vocal writing. In the Salve Regina, Kirkby gives a compelling performance. VIVALDI: The Four seasons. AAM Hogwood. He captures the seasons perfectly. Swift tempi. VIVALDI: Stabat Mater. Nisi Dominus. Concerto in G minor. In the Stabat Mater, Bowman is a persuasive soloist in the more operatic setting of the Psalm. Vivaldi proably wrote this for a Venetian orphanage for girls. There is a case here for prefering a woman soloist. VIVALDI: Gloria in D minor RV 589. J. S BACH: Magnificat in E flat major 243 a. Kirkby, Nelson, soprano's. Watkinson contralto. Elliot tenor. Thomas Bass. The choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. AAM Simon Preston director. In the Gloria RV 585, the choristers of Christ Church exceed themselves. The soloists are marvellous. Watkinson rivals Janet Baker in the Contralto aria. In the Bach Magnificat, this is the original version; woman soloists instead of boys. The AAM bring a new experience to us. I hope you enjoy this box set as much as I have.

REFERENCES: Stanley, J. Classical Music. 1995. RD Press. Penguin Guides 1996, 2008. Gramophone Classical guide 2009.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A few pleasant surprises for me., 29 May 2014
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This review is from: L'Oiseau: The Baroque Era (Lyre Edition) (Audio CD)
I'm not a musician, so if you are looking for a deep and insightful critical review, then read no further.

I bought this set to replace many of the L'Oiseau-Lyre albums I already have on vinyl. It did this admirably but in addition it also introduced me to many enjoyable works that I did not know and would not have considered buying separately.

I have heard it said that if you look at someone else's books and records, and you see titles you know and like, if you look further you will find other titles unknown to you that you may also enjoy. I feel this boxed set has been rather like that for me.

UPDATE: There was a problem with the 28th disc in the set (Biber: Requiem), with sound drop outs and a crackling noise present. Having now played through the whole box (and found all the other discs to be okay), I did not want to return the entire set to Amazon for a replacement set, which I would then have to check again over many hours - but I did want to get the single faulty disc replaced. I did this by getting in contact with Decca Classics who most kindly and commendably sent me a replacement disc by return.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Splendour of Baroque music, 2 Jun. 2014
This review is from: L'Oiseau: The Baroque Era (Lyre Edition) (Audio CD)
The beauty of "Goldberg Variations" played on harpsichord! The splendour of "Four Seasons" played with period instruments! I am really enjoying this set.

The box is nicer than I expected. You can see that it is a budget set but you also can see that it was done with care and elegance: the box is strong (mine fell from a chest of drawers and it was undamaged ),the box itself is nicely designed, the cover of the cds are simple but beautifully designed, there is a link to a site where you can get texts for the songs. When I first checked the link it had only texts for three cds but Decca has already fixed the website and it seems that all texts are there now.

I was a little alarmed by a reference to the quality of the sound of this set but the sound is really good. I am not an expert on the matter but there is a very good way to check the sound of a cd without using a software or the likes: Simple comparison.

I compared the sound of "Venus and Adonis" from this set with the sound of "Venus and Adonis" from the magnificent set "Baroque Opera" from Harmonia Mundi. The performances are quite different but the sound is equally good.
I liked better the slower "Venus and Adonis" from this set than the faster interpretation of the HM set but this is a matter of personal preference unrelated to sound quality.

I also compared a few other pieces from this set such as "Four Seasons" ,"Goldberg Variations" , Handel's "Orlando" with the same piece from other sets or individual cds and got the same result: Different interpretations but equally good sound.

Of course, the sound will not be the same and Decca is not my favourite label as I think the quality of German recordings are in general better ( DG, Archiv and so on ) but I think the difference will be very noticeable only if you are a trained musician and
have one of those ten thousand pounds, or more, sound systems.

The majority of customers, me included, will normally have a hard time to tell one sound from another when comparing excellent labels such as Decca, DG and and so on whilst listening to them on ordinary cd players. Sound, not performances.

One of the pieces I compared was Handel's Concerti Grossi. I listen to this set, Archiv, Philips, Chandos. The sound of Archiv was better ( to put it simply, it had less distortion at a loud volume than the other ones, for example) but they were all good ( Philips maybe not so much) and I actually liked Chandos' better, not Archiv or Decca, because of the performance.

The sound of Handel's Messiah from HM ( Rene Jacobs), as another example, is clearly better than the sound of Messiah from this set but, once again, that doesn't mean the sound of this set is not good. It is very good.

One of the things I liked about this set is its uniformity, as most pieces are performed by the Academy of Ancient Music and conducted by the same conductor, Christopher Hogwood. I prefer European orchestras and wasn't familiar with this orchestra but I was gladly surprised to find out that many times I like AAM's interpretations better than other ones I already knew and liked.

I wasn't going to write a review about this set but I changed my mind after listening to Vivaldi's four seasons with period instruments. It is just wonderful.

If you like baroque music and/or period instruments then by all means get this set. I bought mine from Amazon fr because Amazon UK was being fussy about the delivery of this set but now that is fixed and the price here dropped to about £60. You can't go wrong with this set.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Texts?, 9 May 2015
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This review is from: L'Oiseau: The Baroque Era (Lyre Edition) (Audio CD)
Enjoying this set very much. Great recordings and good balance between the familiar and obscure. My only gripe is that the booklet says the texts are available on www.loiseau-lyre.co.uk but the website doesn`t appear to exist.
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5.0 out of 5 stars No better Intro to Baroque Music at an incredible price!!, 12 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: L'Oiseau: The Baroque Era (Lyre Edition) (Audio CD)
Huge collection at a very attractive price. First rate recordings by Baroque Era specialists on authentic period instruments. Every disc is a gem.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars but none the worse for that, 5 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: L'Oiseau: The Baroque Era (Lyre Edition) (Audio CD)
Superb collection of mainly "vintage" recordings (I e pre 21st century), but none the worse for that! These were superb recordings in their day, and the performances are in the main a match for most more recent "covers" of the same material. Of course, it is always a pleasure to listen to the likes of Emma Kirkby, certainly one of our finest interpreters of baroque music (and still so). I can only add that some of these cds I also own on vinyl, and the quality almost matches the vinyl reproduction. If you love the sound of vinyl and baroque music, this set is highly recommended.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class box set of treasured L'Oiseau label classic recordings, 11 Feb. 2015
By 
Marcia "marcia" (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: L'Oiseau: The Baroque Era (Lyre Edition) (Audio CD)
Buying CDs can be an expensive business and this box set appears to be a lot to pay out in one go. But when you think about what you are getting it just works out as an absolute bargain of treasure.
Yes this is true treasure. Some of the greatest recordings on authentic instruments of all time.
The Box set includes 50 discs, If you were to pay for the discs individually it would cost far, far more.

The whole set is magnificent. The box is nicely presented as a cube shape design with great art work. There is a hinge lid that opens to reveal the 50 discs and one thick booklet full of information and pictures. Each album is housed in a card sleeve with the original art work LP cover on it. Some albums are double albums so this accounts for the 50 discs.

For me there were albums I already had in traditional CD jewel cases that I have duplicated here. But then they take up far less room in their card sleeves here in this box set and on my storage shelving. Then there are a whole load of other titles that I previously did not have. Most are now next to impossible to get on CD any other way. And these discs easily pay for themselves and the repeats,

The choices for the set are excellent too. The compilers have put together an excellent representation of the Baroque era through recordings from L'Oiseau label. It highlights the era with well known composers and less well known composers,
The Academy of Ancient Music have always been a favourite of mine. They always look for the earliest manuscripts of scores and often provide an alternative to the standard recognised versions of famous compositions and always on authentic instruments and period performances,

I have nothing but praise for this elegant set and look forward to the next planned sets Classical Era and Medieval & Renaissance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent playing and good sound, 3 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: L'Oiseau: The Baroque Era (Lyre Edition) (Audio CD)
briiliant. lots of new music to me. excellent playing and good sound. couldn't be better
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular... if you're into Baroque, this ..., 28 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: L'Oiseau: The Baroque Era (Lyre Edition) (Audio CD)
Spectacular ... if you're into Baroque, this is the box set to buy !!!
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17 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not what I expected, 21 May 2014
This review is from: L'Oiseau: The Baroque Era (Lyre Edition) (Audio CD)
I bought this box as soon as it was released. My expectations were great: a 50 CD box of the most beautiful music of all time: baroque music. There are the traditional "great hits" in this box (the brandenburgs, the seasons, water music...), but there are also much more works of lesser known composers (pisendel, blow, arne, rebel...).

So, why my disappointment? Easy: while the performances here are first rate (amost all by the Academy of Ancient Music), the recordings ARE NOT. The sound quality is good in some discs, but in most of them is pretty poor: dull, not vibrant, it lacks the transparency and the realism of deutsche harmonia mundi, for example. It seems that you are listening an old radio instead of a CD in a top class stereo. If you are looking for a baroque music set, go for the das alte werk one or the deutsche harmonia mundi one. There is a reason this set is so unexpensive
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L'Oiseau: The Baroque Era (Lyre Edition)
L'Oiseau: The Baroque Era (Lyre Edition) by Christopher Hogwood (Conductor) (Audio CD - 2014)
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