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Respect and Understanding

A CD celebrating
300 years of Charpentier -
reviewed by

'The performance is excellent throughout.'

Music for the Virgin Mary - Celebrating 300 Years of Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704). © 2006 Signum Records

It is good that there has been a move over the last twenty years or so towards a revival of interest in French pre-revolutionary music and this interest continues. One of the most interesting composers of this period was Marc Antoine Charpentier (1636-1704). This CD commemorates his music from over 300 years ago.

Like most re-examination of the past the movement recognised several hallmarks. One of these was double dotting. This curious French habit of adding another half length to a note produces an urgent and often purposely uncomfortable feel to a piece of music. While this might be appropriate to secular and military music, it was extensively used by Lully even in liturgical music. It appears for example in his Grands Motets but clearly it does not fit well into church music. Interestingly, the piece in this recording thought to have been by Lully does not have this hallmark although it appears in many of his secular pieces. However, it rarely crept into Charpentier's church music.

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Copyright © 5 July 2006 Peter G Howell, Budapest, Hungary


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