Charpentier: Office des ténèbres; Miserere

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COMPOSERS: Charpentier
LABELS: Opus 111 Invitation
WORKS: Office des ténèbres; Miserere
PERFORMER: Véronique Gens, Noémi Rime (soprano); Le Parlement de Musique/Martin Gester (organ, harpsichord)
This disc is not, as the title implies, a reconstruction of a complete Ténèbrae office but an imaginitively contrived amalgam taken exclusively from Holy Week settings by Charpentier, capped by his setting of the Miserere. The most striking feature of these pieces is the remarkable economy of means, in terms of both the forces involved (two high voices, continuo and the occasional recorder) and the musical style. The voices of Véronique Gens and Noémi Rime blend wonderfully, combining poise with intensity of feeling, and, with able support from Le Parlement de Musique, they capture beautifully the chaste mood of contrition. Christopher Dingle