Mstation Classical Reviews

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Mon, 29 Aug 2005


Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Motet a double choer
The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
Ton Koopman
2 CDs, Apex

If you see the dates of Charpentier's life (1643 - 1704) you also see that he was around at the time of Louis XIV and this might lead you to suspect that there might be a little bit of majesty in what he did. And so there is.

These works are all for double choir which Charpentier studied while he was in Venice and Rome. Double choir doesn't necessarily mean a huge choir as it was common at the time to have choirs which consisted of one voice for each range. The idea was to have contrasts which were frequently highlighted by the two choirs being in different places -- galleries in a cathedral for example.

Some of these works are sacred and others have to do with the likes of celebrating a victory over the Netherlands. As it happens all of these motets are performed by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and very nice performances they are too. People unfamiliar with Early Music might not realise that the Netherlands is one of the great homes to this music. The University of Utrecht, for example, is one of the world's foremost places to study this kind of thing. (Count K)

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