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Recordings

Music for the Virgin Mary—Celebrating 300 Years of Charpentier
29 Apr 2006

Music for the Virgin Mary—Celebrating 300 Years of Charpentier

This wonderful CD was recorded in the magnificent church of Notre Dame, Rozay-en-Brie, which is 30 miles east of Paris, and contains one of the better-preserved French organs of the seventeenth century, actually played by Francois Couperin during his lifetime.

Music for the Virgin Mary—Celebrating 300 Years of Charpentier

Concerto delle Donne, Donna Deam (soprano), Faye Newton (soprano), Gill Ross (soprano), with sopranos Miriam Allan, Caroline Ashton, Rachel Bevan, Jennie Cassidy, Charlotte Fairbairn, Ana Gabriela Schwedhelm, directed by Alastair Ross (organ).

Signum Classics SIGCD073 [CD]

$14.99  Click to buy

The Concerto delle Donne specializes in the Italian vocal repertoire of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The three principal sopranos that perform in the group, all early music experts, collaborate with six other sopranos, as well as the organ mentioned above, to present various Office motets and antiphons composed by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), Nicholas-Antoine Lebegue (c. 1631-1702), and Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers (c. 1632-1714), all composed for various feasts and services related to the Virgin Mary. The 16 pieces on the CD are subdivided into various topics, such as Queen of Heaven, The Birth of the Virgin, The Salutation, The Nativity of Christ, A Prayer to the Virgin, The Passion, The Resurrection, and The Coronation of the Virgin.

The sequence "Stabat mater pour les religieuses" by Charpentier was especially exquisite in its polyphonic rendering. This contrasted nicely with some of the motets, such as "Sicut spina rosam" and "Gaude felix Anna," where only two sopranos would perform.

The sound quality on this CD is absolutely fantastic, as is the singing. The organ continuo on some of the pieces provides a spectacular effect that can only be produced in a cathedral-performance setting. Lovers of French Baroque music will need to include this CD in their collection.

Dr. Brad Eden
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

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