A treasure map is needed to find one’s way through this release. The CDs and DVD, exquisitely encased in a beautiful book – full of facsimiles, photographs and essays as well as vocal texts in innumerable translations – contain performances of some of the most beautifully crafted, deeply spiritual music Charpentier ever wrote. Catherine Cessac, the foremost French authority on Charpentier, writes eloquently on the music and Savall on the impetus for the collection. The repertoire, inspired by the story of the Virgin Mary, is drawn from all periods of Charpentier’s life and reflects the different private and public circumstances of his employment, the musical resources available to him and occasions for which he composed. In several cases more than one performance, each with different personnel, has been included, hence the need for a map.
Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643 - February 24, 1704) was a French composer of the Baroque era.
He was a prolific and versatile composer, producing music of the highest quality in several genres. His mastery in the composition of sacred vocal music was recognized and acknowledged by his contemporaries.
These very agreeable works will find immediately receptive ears among fans of early-romantic chamber music. And indeed, Georges Onslow was quite adept at writing for various chamber configurations 34 string quintets, 35 quartets, six piano trios, a sextet, septet, and nonet, and sonatas for piano, violin, cello, and numerous solo piano pieces.
For purists, Gavin Bryars has raised issues of appropriation in his contemporary adaptations of fourteenth century Cortonese laude, but it is sometimes difficult to know how much of the material on Oi Me Lasso he has quoted and how much he has elaborated. In their original form, these sacred songs were written for unaccompanied soprano voice; one can be sure that the drones, passing dissonances, and instrumental parts are Bryars' inventions, and that he has reshaped the pure vocal lines to his own expressive needs.