M-A Charpentier: Pastorale de Noël; Les Arts Florissants; Le Reniement de Saint Pierre; Te Deum

COMPOSERS: M-A Charpentier
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Pastorale de Noël; Les Arts Florissants; Le Reniement de Saint Pierre; Te Deum
PERFORMER: Les Arts Florissants/William Christie
CATALOGUE NO: HMX 2908140.44
Also from Harmonia Mundi comes another attractive repackaging of music by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, the tercentenary of whose death it commemorates. This five-disc box has its very own ‘Oratorio de Noël’, the 30-minute In nativitatem Domini canticum. The first half is a solemn, dark-hued plea for Christ’s incarnation. Then, after a remarkable ‘dark night of the soul’ (portrayed instrumentally), the heavens brighten, and shepherds hymn the birth of the infant Jesus. The choral singing of Les Arts Florissants is outstanding, and William Christie, a great Charpentier champion, directs a pliantly idiomatic performance. Other Christmas pieces featured, all directed by Christie, include Pastorale de Noël, Antiennes ‘O’ de l’avent and Sur la naissance de notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ. There are also other Charpentier masterpieces such as the Te Deum and Litanies de la Vierge. This is an indispensable collection, showcasing a body of work that is still gravely under-appreciated.

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