MARC-ANTOINE CHARPENTIER: Litanies De La Vierge, Motets Pour La Maison De Guise
composed by Marc-Antoine Charpentier preformed by Sebastien Dauce
and Ensemble Correspondances produced by Harmonia Mundi, 2013 *
HMC902169 * 93 minutes * price $39.76
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Ensemble Correspondances was founded in 2009, this is only their third recording but such is their refined polish and delivery that one would think them a seasoned ensemble. This is borne out by the director Dauces (harpsichord & organ) relating in the CD notes that he has lived with these works for six voices for fifteen years. The group has concentrated on 17th century French repertoire, especially Moulinie and Charpentier. All three of their recordings have received wide critical acclaim.
Charpentier studied in Italy when he was young with Carissimi, the greatest composer in Rome of his generation.
When he returned to France he had been intensely influenced by his mentor and his music revealed Italian musical stylizations. The French in this period were forging their national style of music and the young Louis XIV wanted only French style music at his court. Subsequently Charpentier never received a court position although Louis heard and admired his work. He lived and worked in Paris and was taken up by Madame de Guise, the last surviving member of a fabulously rich ducal family out of favour of the king. She had lived in Italy when a youth and loved Italian music. Charpentier moved into her Paris mansion and directed her music until she died in 1688. Madame de Guise had four-hundred servants in her employ and he auditioned them all to find the best singers and instrumentalists. Eventually this tight knit family working for the music (religious and entertainment) of Madame de Guise were recognized as the best group in France after the King's own musical establishments.
The intimacy, purity and harmony of these works for six voices (three sopranos, haut-contre, tenor and bass), composed for Madame de Guise...