Classical Music classical CDs reviewed New CD reviews every day latest Classical CD releases Buy your CDs of the classics here

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Messe et Motet pour les trepasses/Miserere des Jesuites etc.
Choeur de chambre de Namur/Ensemble La Fenice/Jean Tubery
Virgin Veritas VBD5 45394 2 8 [62.36]

This sequence of funeral music composed in the late 17. C by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, is of consistent, exquisite beauty, and celebratory rather than morbid in general effect, much of it light and fast. There are four solo singers, each a delight to hear, and others drawn from the twelve singers of the chamber choir. They are accompanied, variously, by recorder (played by the director), strings, cornetto, theorbo, organ & harpsichord, with one of the versatile musicians trebling on bassoon, recorder & serpent, 'the instrument most commonly used to provide continuo bass, capable of supporting twenty of the strongest voices'.

For maximum variety, Charpentier divides his forces in many ways for greatest possible variety and expressiveness. For example, the final chorus of the Miserere 'begins with the word Tunc announced by the three middle voices and answered by all the other parts - - fugal entries punctuated by powerful chords from the instruments, ending with a superb peroration on a dominant pedal worthy of Bach'.

The sequence is introduced with the tolling of bells leading to Couperin's Les Carillons de Paris, and at an appropriate point is interposed a solo organ performance of a fugue & caprice by the lesser known 17 C composer, Francois Roberday.

The performance and recording in Froville, France is exemplary and there is very full documentation, all words with translations supplied, and an account by Jean Tubery of this important collaboration between the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles and the Ensemble La Fenice, Marc-Antoine Charpentier central to their chief fields of joint research.

Recommended most warmly.


Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers : - The UK's Biggest Video Store

Concert and Show tickets


Musicians accessories

Click here to visit

Return to Index