Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Jean-Joseph Cassanea de Mondonville, Les Arts Florissants, William Christie|
Mondonville - Grand Motets / Daneman, Wieczorek, Agnew, Piolino, Konigsberger, Bazola, Les Arts Florissants, Christie
I can't imagine...
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 08/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...why everybody hasn't become a rabid fan of French Baroque music, especially in the last decade with performers of the quality of Bill Christie's Les Arts Florissants! It's lively, it's direct to the senses, it's rich in variety, and even when it's deeply spiritual it's never lugubrious or ponderous. If YOU are one of the unconverted, this CD of the Grands Motets of Jean-Joseph de Mondonville (1711-1772) might be the performance that will open your ears. In addition to the usual charms of French Baroque, Mondonville's music is at times brilliantly colorful, fall-down funny, gracefully balletic, sensual, and staunchly noble, all in good turn.
Mondonville was always a crowd pleaser by choice, far more popular in his time than more "elite" composers like Rameau, but these Grands Motets are not fluff by any means. They are as deeply rooted in the theory and tradition of the music of the French royal chapel as any of the scores of Grand Motets stretching back to the youth of Louis XIV and continuing to the French Revolution. Essentially, to be a "Grand Motet", the sacred Latin text had to be set in grand style, with chorus, orchestra, and soloists, almost always in six or more contrasting sections avoiding the repetition of da capo forms. The text was supreme and had to be set intelligibly as well as expressively. The great model was always Lully, even 100 years later. The orchestra of Les Arts Florissantes has been augmented for this recording, with 13 violins, 6 violas, 6 cellos, 2 double basses, flutes, oboes, bassoons, organ, and harpsichord - grand forces indeed for music to be performed in a chapel! The six vocal soloists, led by soprano Sophie Daneman, are all Christie stalwarts and singers of superb technique. By the middle of the 18th C, the Grand Motet had in fact emerged from the chapel to compete with the opera for large public audiences in Paris, on the program of the "Concert Spirituel", where Mondonville became music director in 1755.
Mondonwille was apparently fond of musical word-painting, and ready to stretch his orchestrations to accomplish special effects: flood sounds, earthquakes, descents and ascents of angels. The first motet on this disk, Domis regnavit, throws formality to the winds in its boisterous portrayal of waves crashing at the Lord's command. And just imagine what Mondonville makes of this text from the motet In Exitu Israel: "The mountains skipped like rams / and the little hills like lambs."
Everything that needs to be said about the quality of this performance is expressed in the name William Christie. In Bill We Trust!
Les Arts Florissantes, by the way, is partially but critically supported by funds from the French Ministry of Culture, the Regional Council of Basse-Normandie, and the city of Caen. Governmental support of the arts is age-old and proper, the best use the state can make of public money in long-term investment. Bill Christie is an American, but he has spent his career enriching the lives of Europeans because of the dire failure of American governments to support music and the other arts significantly."
Just some comments
Diwonusoio | Bucharest, Romania | 04/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Comments not about Mondonville... he is a truly great composer, worthy of his predecessors in the field of the Grand motet (Delalande especially).
Comments about the previous reviwer, whom I should inform that there are no mispronounciation here: he should have known, before writing this, that latin-language music in France used this pronounciation a la Versailles - and Christie doesn`t sing a French motet in Ist century AD Latin, you know...
A wonderful album, don`t miss it. And if you liked it, try some Delalande, Campra and, of course, Lully and Charpentier."
Diwonusoio | 09/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mondonville is quite unknown, but he became one of my favorite composers because of Grands Motets. If you like Mozart's requiem or Brahms' German requiem this is an absolute must."