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Program: #06-05, Air Date: 01/23/06

The superb French ensemble Le Concert spirituel conducted by Herve Niquet gives us this breathtaking masterpiece for voices, violins, flutes and organ written after Charpentier's visit to Rome.

We continue our long and fruitful association with our partners at Radio Netherlands in presenting a series of concerts from the Holland Festival of Early Music at Utrecht. Please visit their web site, which will provide more in-depth information about the music and performers we hear as well as more information about the festival:
www.rnmusic.nl

NOTE: All of the music on this program is performed by the Le concert spirituel directed by Herve Niquet, who writes:

"Charpentier's Messe à 8 voix et 8 violons et flûtes and Te Deum à 8 voix avec flûtes et violons are almost entirely due to his trip to Rome some years before he wrote both pieces. There he came in touch with the polychoral music in the overwhelming churches of Rome. After returning to France, Charpentier immediately started writing his religious music following the Italian, polychoral model. Probably the Messe à 8 voix, produced at the beginning of the 1670&Mac226;s, was written for a very festive occasion. In January 1672 the Jesuits celebrated the canonization of Francisco Borgia, to whom Charpentier would later dedicate a motet. The organist Robert Cambert had been invited for the service and the fact that the organ plays an important part in the Mass - the instrument is explicitly mentioned in the Kyrie and Christe - might be an indication that it was written for this occasion. The Offertory that follows the Mass in the manuscript, may have been performed during the service as well.

"There had always been close ties between Charpentier and the Jesuits. Although he did not officially work for the order until 1680, examination of the watermarks in the paper he used, has shown that he already got commissions from them at the beginning of his career. The Mass might have been one of the first of these. In the Te Deum - in his time an extremely popular work - the composer plays with the contrast between the massive choral parts and the solos, which differ greatly in style. The piece has refined contrapuntal passages. Especially the sections of the text Œtibi cherubim&Mac226; and Œsanctus&Mac226; work particularly well, due to the gradual increase of the amount of pairs of voices that enter. Even without the power of timpani and trumpets Charpentier is exceptionally convincing in this Te Deum.

Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704):

Messe à 8 voix et 8 violons et flûtes H. 3

O Salutaris hostia H.236

Domine salvum, H.283

Composer Info

Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704)