Couperin: Sacred Music; Lully: Miserere

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Two rare L'Oiseau-Lyre recordings of French Baroque masterpieces, newly remastered and making their first appearance on CD.

From the time of its foundation in 1932 by the Australian-born, Paris-adopted philanthropist Louise Hanson-Dyer, Editions de L'Oiseau-Lyre specialised in French early music as the name of the imprint implied. The company's first complete scholarly edition a year later comprised the complete works of François Couperin to mark the bicentenary of his death. Although the company's post-war recording activity centred on London, French repertoire continued to be recorded locally.

This pair of LPs released in 1954 and 1955 marked a bold departure: sacred vocal consort music, still hardly known to the record-buying public, in performances of scholarly authority (for the mid-1950s), technical finesse and lively temperament. This reissue presents them once more, this time on CD, complemented by authoritative booklet notes from the original releases by the respected writer on French music, Marc Pincherle.

Taking the soaring haut-contre line in Couperin's grand 'Motet pour Saint-Suzann' was the English tenor William Herbert who features on several other L'Oiseau-Lyre recordings reissued by Eloquence, alongside the soprano Jennifer Vyvyan and conductor Anthony Lewis: among them Handel's 'Semele' (482 5055) and sacred Litanies by Mozart (482 5041).