Charpentier: Te Deum; Assumpta est Maria: Missa 6 vocibus cum symphonia

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COMPOSERS: Charpentier
LABELS: Teldec Das Alte Werk
WORKS: Te Deum; Assumpta est Maria: Missa 6 vocibus cum symphonia
PERFORMER: St James’s Singers & Baroque Players/ Ivor Bolton
CATALOGUE NO: 0630-12465-2 DDD
Charpentier’s early study with Carissimi is still evident in the sparkling antiphony of these two late works. In the Te Deum (its opening Prelude a Baroque ‘pop’) eight solo voices contrast with the grand choeur. The soloists are, in turn, set against a kaleidoscopic variety of violins, flutes and oboes, while brilliant trumpets and timpani illumine the full choir. Yet this Italian brilliance cannot stifle the French grandeur, precise declamation, melodic simplicity and harmonic predictability of the work.

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Bolton’s virtuoso forces respond splendidly. They are transparent even in the rich five-part textures, ornamenting cleanly both solo and choral lines and pronouncing Latin texts in the French manner – singers are at last taking this timbral challenge seriously.

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Though the balance occasionally favours bass and penetrating haute-contre voices, the recording ambience is excellent. George Pratt