Mstation Classical Reviews

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Sun, 29 Jan 2006

Charpentier, Lebegue

Music for the Virgin Mary
Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Concerto delle Donne
Alistair Ross
LP, Signum Classics

Signum Classics is one of a number of small classical labels that trust that they might get before you and into your collections by choosing their projects well and putting out a superior product. Good luck to them all I say.

This CD is "Celebrating 300 years of Charpentier" and more specifically on this disc, his works that relate to the Church - the Roman Catholic Church of ancien regime France that is.

The liner notes (in the usual ridiculously small font) say that there was a dichotomy at the time, in that those of the court spent their time on many frivolities but that they also spent a great deal of time in religious observance. I think one could possibly make too much of this. While it was true that the devout did (and still do) spend a lot of time on this activity, it was also true that it was quite common also for people to chat during services and generally wander about.

The music collected here is really very nice and mostly concists of vocal works with an organ backing. It was recorded at Notre Dame, Rozay-en-Brie, a little to the east of Paris. The organ there dates from 1690 and was played by Francois Couperin. The whole thing is also very nicely recorded, the voices particularly.

The cover art won't be to everyone's taste but there is a nice photo of the organ on the inside. It is quite interesting that some churches in some areas survived the revolution quite well.

Oh yes, I've demoted myself. Some years ago when I started to do these reviews I adopted "Count" in a somewhat jokey way and it has annoyed me ever since. Now, it being a New Year (and I hope it is a very good one for you ... and me too) I shall correct things, well, this thing. (Baron K)

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