£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


 

BUY NOW 

AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Music for the Virgin Mary
Nicholas-Antoine LEBÈGUE
(c.1631-1702)
Prélude du cinquième ton [1'14]
Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704)
Antiphon Ave Regina coelorum [3'07]
Motet: Sicut spina rosam [2'26]
Motet: Gaude felix Anna [1'50]
Nicholas-Antoine LEBÈGUE
Tierce en taille du deuxième ton [3'22]
Guillaume-Gabriel NIVERS (c.1632-1714)
Antiphon: Gabriel Angelus
Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER
Magnificat pour le Port Royal [10'00]
Antiphon Alma redemptoris mater [3'03]
Motet Frigidae noctis umbra totum  -
In Nativitate Domini N(ost)ri Jesu Christi Canticum [11'16]
Nicholas-Antoine LEBÈGUE
Noel: Ou s'en vont ces gays bergers? [2'35]
Attrib. Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687)
Antiphon Salve Regina [7'12]
Guillaume-Gabriel NIVERS
Recit de Cromorne du troisième ton [3'24]
Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER
Sequence: Stabat Mater pour les réligieuses [9'09]
Guillaume-Gabriel NIVERS
Dialogue à deux choeurs du sixième ton [2'26]
Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER
Antiphon: Regina coeli laetare [2'38]
Hymn: Gaudia Virginis Mariae [3'15]
Nicholas-Antoine LEBÈGUE
Plein Jeu du huitième ton [2'01]
Alastair Ross (organ)
Concerto delle Donne/Alastair Ross
rec. 27 June-1 July 2005, Notre Dame, Rozay-en-Brie, France. DDD
SIGNUM SIGCD073 [69'00]

 

This disc presents a sequence of French music regarding different aspects of the Virgin Mary. It was written for female voices - predominantly nuns - during the second half of the 17th century. The majority of the music featured was written by Charpentier and the recording marks the 300th anniversary of his death in 1704.

The music is, I'm ashamed to say, all but unknown to me; apparently Charpentier wrote over one hundred works for women's voices. Here it is beautifully presented, together with works of Lully, Nivers, Lebègue, and interspersed with organ works by the latter pair. It is good to hear these organ works in something of a liturgical, or at least wider musical, context. The London-based keyboard player Alastair Ross plays the remarkable instruments at Rozay, perhaps the best preserved 17th century organ in France, surprisingly little known and restored in 1996 by Yves Cabourdin. The original builder in 1690 is seemingly unknown, or at least the CD booklet doesn't tell us. The virile Pleins Jeux, with its modified 1/5th comma meantone tuning, reminds us of how much Classical French organ building had changed by the time its most famous executants, Dom Bedos, and Francois-Henri Cliquot built their most famous surviving works at Bordeaux and Poitiers respectively. As far as I can tell, Ross uses a second organ, presumably a continuo-organ, for the accompaniment of the singers. If so, this is a shame, as such an instrument would have been completely unknown to Charpentier, and the use of the large organ presents more interesting possibilities in this regard, as well as more key-colour.

The singing on the whole is first-rate; excellent blend, intonation, a very musical feeling for expression, and careful diction, despite some very Anglican-sounding Latin from time to time. The three principal sopranos of the Concerto delle Donne are joined by six further sopranos for the works with alternating soloists and choir. For me, everything is perhaps a little too pretty. Of course, one must remember the situation for which the music was created, but I can't help feeling that the approach lacks a certain variety of affekts suggested by the texts. Likewise Ross's organ playing, while very neat and tidy, lacks a little flexibility in the pulse, or at least a feeling for the inherent rhetoric, so essential to bring this literature off the page.

These are charming performances of charming music. Warmly recommended.

Chris Bragg

BUY NOW 

AmazonUK   AmazonUS

 



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable Arcodiva
British Music Soc.
CDAccord
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter


Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter

Return to Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.