A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 04/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"MARC-ANTOINE: 'OF YOU I AM FOND!'
Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1645-1704) was the most distinguished French religious composer of his era. His output includes eleven Masses and numerous motets, psalms and oratorios, many of them extended works rich in texture, color and harmony, and contrpuntally resourceful.
Melodically he derived a distinctive style, imposing French embelishments and phrase structure on a basically Italian idiom. His 30 or so theater pieces reveal wit and facility. However, he is still in danger of being known for only one or two works, the famous 'Te Deum in D ' and the delightful 'Messe de Minuit' which are the selections on this disc.
The date of the 'Te Deum' is not clear, but most likely it was written for the celebrations of the French victory at Steinkerque in 1692. Thus the adding of trumpets and drums to the usual orchestra of woodwind, strings and organ; choir and soloists to denote a joyous occasion. The more intimate 'Messe de Minuit' is scored simply for strings and organ and flutes. This Midnight Mass was composed for performance on Christmas Eve and is actually based on old French carols which is no doubt responsible for creating a composition of charm and enchantment, and that it is.
This recording has two different dates and conductors that are 10 years apart. The 'Te Deum' was recorded in 1978 under the leadership of Sir Philip Ledger with soloists: Felicity Lott (soprano), Eiddwen Harrhy (soprano), Charles Brett (alto), Ian Partridge (tenor, par excellence!), Stephen Roberts (bass). The 'Minuit' was recorded in 1967 under the direction of Sir David Willcocks with soloists: April Cantelo (soprano), Helen Gelmar (soprano), James Bowman (alto), Christopher Keyte (bass). I must confess that I had not previously heard the sopranos (except for Felicty Lott), but all performed well!
The King's College Choir always sings with perfection and really it would be very difficult to hear that there are two different groups except for the different soloists. This music is very pleasant sounding almost secular at times. It is really very easy to enjoy. It is accompanied by brief information about the music and the composer; no liner notes and it is in Latin as one would expect."
A choral masterpiece of baroque music
Hal T. Denton | Cookeville, TN | 01/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've known about the Charpentier Te Deum since I bought an old vinyl copy in the mid 1960s when I was a college student. This Te Deum is one of the towering masterpieces of the baroque. It is energetic, colorful and filled with the lavish orchestration Charpentier is known for. I have in my collection around 10 Te Deums by baroque composers, and the Charpentier has always been my favorite. The recording here is excellent, and the fine ensemble led by Christopher Keyte is right on with the pacing. A superb masterpiece -- well done by all."