Lully: Te deum; Miserere; Plaude laetare Gallia

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COMPOSERS: Lully
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Te deum; Miserere; Plaude laetare Gallia
PERFORMER: Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet
CATALOGUE NO: 8.554397
Besides Lully’s best-known sacred piece, the celebratory Te Deum, this fine selection of works composed for the French Royal Chapel contains a gloriously intense setting of the psalm Miserere mei, Deus and the little-known but attractive motet Plaude laetare Galli. Le Concert Spirituel’s founding director Hervé Niquet is an accomplished interpreter of this repertoire, combining rhythmic incision and a stylistic awareness of Baroque dance with that essential but rarely achieved aspect of French musical style – liquidity. His performance of the Te Deum is aptly energetic and joyous with some invigorating instrumental playing. By contrast, Niquet draws a meditative account of the Miserere, the melanous orchestral scoring and French-coloured Latin lending a distinctively plangent quality to the sound. Small wonder that at the work’s first performance certain members of the audience were said to weep. If there’s any flaw to the disc it is that the soloists are rather ill-matched, some of them sounding strained and over-reliant on vibrato in the more exposed passages. The close recorded perspective – albeit in a reverberant acoustic – does tend to draw attention to these slight problems, though it is good to hear the details of the music. A most enjoyable disc, and all for under a fiver! Kate Bolton

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