Messe pour les trépassés (Mass for the departed)
Te Deum, H146
Te Deum, H146: Prélude
Bertrand Bontoux (Bass), Olga Pitarch (Soprano), Orlanda Velez Isidro (Soprano), João Fernandes (Bass), Paul Agnew (Tenor), Marc Mauillon (Tenor), Topi Lehtipuu (Tenor)
Les Arts Florissants
William Christie (Conductor)
Baroque jubilation and mourning with William Christie: Charpentier’s Mass for the Dead and the Te Deum anniversaries of composers, artists and ensembles are an integral part of classical musical life. In 2004, there were two reasons to celebrate: William Christie’s highly renowned and award-winning ensemble Les Arts Florissants celebrated its 25th anniversary, and the music world commemorated the 300th anniversary of the death of the French baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier. Christie and his musicians combined both with a big anniversary tour, which also included the new recording of Charpentiers Te Deum and the Grand Office des Morts. This recording now appears as a continuation of Christie’s highly praised exploration of French church music.
The Te Deum is one of Charpentier’s most famous works – its festive prelude has been the Eurovision anthem for decades. Connoisseurs know, of course, that the brilliant piece has a wealth of great vocal parts to offer in its further course. The Grand Office des Morts, the funeral mass, has a different character from the cheering Te Deum. It is based on a Mass pour les Trépassés (Mass for the Deceased), which the American musicologist John Powell expanded into a Requiem with other Charpentier pieces. The time of origin of both works is still a mystery today. One thing is certain: these are absolute highlights of French baroque church music.