Minkowski gives a characteristically ebullient, highly charged performance.Graham Sadler, BBC Music Magazine
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.
This recording of the Poème Harmonique revitalizes Charpentier's and Lully's Te Deum, two magnificent pieces of sacred music celebrating the Sun King's victory and recovery. Lully, who was of Italian origin, found the essence and style of French art, while Charpentier gave the emotion and composition methods he had learned from the Italians to the music of his country. This is the story of two musicians, two countries, two aesthetics, and two fundamental stakes. Lully became a lauded composer, outshining Charpentier and relegating him to an undeserved subpar position.
On this latest BR-KLASSIK recording of sacred music by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (b. 1935), the regularly award-winning Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, conducted by Peter Dijkstra, is joined by the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, a frequent occurrence in their concert series that regularly include sacred music from the 19th through the 21st c. The present three compositions were written in 1984 and 1990 in the composer's own tintinnabulation style of composition (from the Latin word for the 'ringing of bells'). In his Te Deum, Pärt makes a conscious departure from the traditionally powerful and festive sound of such precursors as Charpentier, Bruckner and Verdi. The restraint of the Wallfahrtslied (Pilgrims' Song), a setting of Psalm 121, evokes the ancient Judeo-Christian tradition of psalm recitation. The Berliner Messe (Berlin Mass) is so named because it was first performed in the city's St. Hedwig's Cathedral (1990) to mark the German Katholikentag (Catholics Day).
Pēteris Vasks has described the organ as the most expressive instrument of all. He feels that a composer living in Riga is duty bound to write music for the famous Walcker organ at Riga Cathedral. The instrument dates from 1883 and has 24 stops with four manuals and two pedalboards and a total of 6,718 pipes. The organ has been preserved in its original state.
Te Deum is a setting of the Latin Te Deum text, also known as the Ambrosian Hymn attributed to Saints Ambrose, Augustine, and Hilary, by Estonian-born composer Arvo Part commissioned by the Westdeutscher Rundfunk Radio in Cologne, Germany in 1984. Dedicated to the late Alfred Schlee of Universal Edition, the WDR Broadcast Choir premiered the Te Deum under the direction of conductor Dennis Russell Davies on January 19, 1985. The Te Deum plays an important role in the services of many Christian denominations, including the Paraklesis (Moleben) of Thanksgiving in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Because of the unusual instrumentation Part employs, his Te Deum is not suited for use within the Orthodox Church.
Domenico Scarlatti’s Stabat mater is, and seems always to have been, among the most popular of his comparatively small number of sacred vocal pieces. He probably wrote it between the years 1708 and 1728 when he was primarily employed as a church composer in Rome and in Lisbon. His setting of the 13th-century text is in ten parts divided into four soprano strands, two alto, two tenor and two bass with continuo. The style – a blend of older techniques with more up-to-date means of expression – is curiously anonymous and fails to sustain interest throughout. But it has many attractive ideas and its craftsmanship is well sustained. Several recordings of the piece are available, some preferring one voice to a part to the more chorally inclined version favoured here by the Choir of King’s College, under its director Stephen Cleobury. Nicholas Anderson