Period ensemble Les Arts Florissants are launching their own label this month, Les Arts Florissants Editions, with the release of Handel’s Belshazzar on October 28. Directed by William Christie, the recording features Allan Clayton as Belshazzar, Rosemary Joshua as Nitocris and Iestyn Davies as Daniel.
Formed by Christie in 1979, the group have released multiple recordings throughout the years on Harmonia Mundi and Erato. However, Christie notes that ‘after much reflection, and with the encouragement of our sponsors, we have decided that now is the time to create our own record label’.
Christie continues: ‘A recording allows the work I do with my ensemble to expand and to reach the public on a scale far beyond the concert hall. When I was young, recordings constituted some of the most useful tools of my education. And ever since I began teaching, I have never ceased to advise my students to make use of this invaluable resource, which places generations of performances from the greatest interpreters at our fingertips.
‘Recordings are also the means of guaranteeing the longevity of Les Arts Florissants which goes hand in hand with creating the ensemble’s legacy. The pleasure I experience listening to the recordings we have made over the last 30 years, and witnessing our progress, has prompted me to prioritise the gathering together, digitilisation and development of our archives and make them accessible to all through Les Arts Flo media, our multimedia site. Our discography is the centre-piece of our media profile.
‘It is particularly appropriate that the inaugural recording in our collection is of Handel. ‘Il caro sassone’ is one of the five composers I would take to a desert island – along with Monteverdi, Mozart, Purcell and Rameau.’
Listen to Les Arts Florissants' recording of the 'Chorus of the Babylonians' from Handel’s Belshazzar on the Gramophone Player below: