C0270. MARC MINKOWSKI Cond. Les Musiciens du Louvre Ensemble: Les Surprises de l'Amour (Rameau) [Indescribably beautiful!]. (Germany) Musifrance 45004, recorded 1990. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 022924500428\
“Rameau's LES SURPRISES DE L'AMOUR (The Surprises of Love), a Comédie ballet composed in 1748, remains as rare today as it was when Minkowski recorded these orchestral suites, in July 1987 (the CD was released only in 1990). Musicologist and Rameau specialist Sylvie Bouisseau concocted that Concert Suite in the hope of generating an interest for the revival of a forgotten work, adding that ‘one feels a kind of heated panic rise in oneself, with the taste of shame, shame not to have guessed that it was so beautiful, shame to think over and over that the opera remains to be performed’. Well, so far, she failed, and the complete stage work remains unrecorded, although parts of it are. It's a complex story.
In its original form, LES SURPRISES DE L'AMOUR was written in 1748 to celebrate the peace treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle which put an end to the War of the Austrian Succession, 1740-1748, and featured three independent works, a prologue. It wasn't very successful then. In 1757, now aged 74, Rameau decided to revive it, but the 1748 prologue having lost all relevance, he discarded it, wrote a new overture and a new act (on a libretto by Gentil-Bernard), which now came after the two others if I understand the liner notes: ‘Anacréon’ - not to be confused with the same-titled one-acter he had written three years earlier, on a book by Louis de Cahusac. To the best of my knowledge the 1754 Anacréon remains unrecorded, but the one from 1757, part of the overhauled Surprises de l'Amour, has indeed, first by Christie in 1981 (Rameau: Anacreon), and then by Minkowski in 1996 (Rameau - Anacréon • La Berger fidèle / Félix • Gens • Massis • del Pozo • Les Musiciens du Louvre • Minkowski). In the overhaul process the 1748 ‘Adonis’ became ‘The Abduction of Adonis’, and it isn't clear what further changes Rameau made to the music itself, but these were substantial enough in ‘The Enchanted Lyre’ for a new score to be published. And it wasn't over yet, since during the run of performances Rameau made further changes to ‘The Enchanted Lyre’, and even added another act, ‘Les Sybarites’, itself drawn from a one-act ballet from 1753, Sibaris, on a libretto of Jean-François de Marmontel. Sibaris has also been recorded, Rameau: Sibaris, but as far as I know not ‘The Enchanted Lyre’ and ‘Adonis/The Abduction of Adonis’. The scores of those four works are available online on the International Music Scores Library Project.”