One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3

Support us financially by purchasing this from
Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704)
Te Deum, H.146 (1692) [22:35]
Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687)
Te Deum, LWV.55 (1677) [32:42]
Amel Brahim-djelloul, Aurore Bucher (sopranos) Reinoud Van Mechelen (counter-tenor) Jeffrey Thompson (tenor) Benoît Arnould (bass)
Capella Cracoviensis
Le Poème Harmonique/Vincent Dumestre
rec. live, Chapelle Royale, Palace of Versailles, 2013
Reviewed as 16-bit lossless download
Booklet with texts provided
ALPHA 952 [55:17]

What a concert this must have been. Two grand Te Deums, performed in the magnificent Chapelle Royale at the Palace of Versailles - I can only glow green with envy. The event was part of an ongoing series of “spectacles” at the Palace that celebrate its musical heritage.

The Te Deum is normally associated with a grand celebratory event, such as a military victory, royal wedding or coronation. Lully’s was written for the birth of his son, still an event for celebration, especially when the child’s godfather is the King of France, but perhaps less grand than usual. Even less grand was the reason that it was given a further performance: Louis XIV had just recovered from a medical condition, and subsequent horrific operation, that began with … how can I say this discretely … a problem that prevented him from riding his horse, or indeed anything that required sitting down. It was at this performance that Lully notoriously and tragically beat time with his stick so vigorously that he damaged his foot, and later died of complications arising from the injury. A Te Deum by Charpentier was also performed at the celebration for the King’s recovery, but the one recorded here was written five years later for a more normal circumstance: one of Louis XIV’s military victories.

Both works are as you would expect: grand — apologies for continuing to use that word, but it is completely apposite — and uplifting, with vocal soloists, a choir, and much use of kettle drum and trumpets. The booklet notes, which are very comprehensive though occasionally confusing due to translation issues, describe a change in style between the two works. The Lully, using the soloists as much as a small chorus as individually, is dominated by choral singing. By contrast, the soloists in the Charpentier get much more opportunity to show their wares.

I had not encountered any of the performers before this. The choir, Capella Cracoviensis, numbering twenty-eight, is from Krakow in Poland. The orchestra, Le Poème Harmonique, of similar size, plays authentic instruments, and was formed in 1998 by Vincent Dumestre. It is closely associated with the Alpha label, having been involved in its first release. The performances are uniformly excellent, and the historically-informed approach to the works sounds just right.

Each work has been recorded more than a dozen times, and by such luminaries of the early music world as William Christie and Marc Minkowski. I have not heard any of these, but I doubt they would be superior to this new release.

David Barker