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G2: Reviews: Classical: Vogel: La Toison d'Or Kalinine/Bu/Wanroij/Borghi/Bassenz/ Nyvall/Le Concert Spirituel/Niquet GLOSSA, TWO CDS 4/5

January 17, 2014

Andrew Clements

Johann Christoph Vogel was born less than two months after Mozart , and also died young - from alcoholism three years before him, in 1788. Most of his career as a court musician was spent in France ; he composed mostly instrumental and orchestral works, but he did produce an oratorio, Jepte, and two operas. The second of those, Demophon, was not performed until the year after Vogel's death, but La Toison d'Or (The Golden Fleece), a tragedie lyrique in three acts with a libretto based upon the legend of Jason and Medea, received its premiere at the Paris Opera in 1786. But it seemed rather old-fashioned, and after a dozen performances and an unsuccessful revival two years later, it slipped into archive obscurity. Vogel dedicated La Toison d'Or to Gluck, and in many ways it's an attempt to emulate his Iphigenia operas. The sleevenotes suggest it might be the missing link in French opera between Gluck and Spontini; that seems a bit far-fetched, it's no masterpiece. On its own terms, though, as shown by Concert Spirituel's superb performance, with Marie Kalinine as Medee and Jean-Sebastian Bou as Jason, alongside some rather formulaic numbers there's some very beautiful music, and some ravishing instrumental obbligati.

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Source: Guardian (UK)

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