Messe et Motet pour les trepasses/Miserere des Jesuites
Choeur de chambre de
Namur/Ensemble La Fenice/Jean
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