Erato’s second priority was contemporary music, especially that by French composers. No label has better or so faithfully served this repertoire, and this 50-CD edition includes some of its greatest treasures — Maurice Duruflé conducting his Requiem; Pierre Boulez conducting Le Visage nuptial and Le Soleil des eaux, and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella; Yvonne Loriod, Boulez and Marius Constant performing Messiaen; Messiaen playing his own Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte Trinité; and Darius Milhaud conducting two of his symphonies.
The Erato label flourished from the early 1950s. It is defined both by its discerningly chosen repertoire and by the high quality of its artists — brilliant instrumentalists including Marie-Claire Alain (organ), Maurice André (trumpet), Lily Laskine (harp), Jean-Pierre Rampal (flute), Hélène Grimaud (piano) and outstanding and sympathetic conductors such as Jean-François Paillard, Claudio Scimone, Michel Corboz, John Eliot Gardiner, Marc Minkowski, Ton Koopman and William Christie. Together they recorded a rich catalogue of Baroque — particularly French Baroque — music.