Lully: Dies Iræ, De Profundis, Te Deum

Jean-Baptiste Lully
Dies Iræ, De Profundis, Te Deum
Choeur de Chambre de Namur, Millenium Orchestra, Cappella Mediterranea, Leonardo García Alarcón
Outhere Music: Alpha 444. 82’50

The complex rituals of the ceremonial music of the French Court of Louis XIV, with its divided Music re Roi, are perhaps summed up in these three Lully pieces – the grand motets Dies Iræ, De Profundis and Te Drum. Although Lully never held any formal posts within the Chapelle du Roi, court tradition dictated that for royal funerals, although the Mass itself was directed by the Sous-maîtres de la Chapelle, for the Prose and Aspersion of the Coffin, the music (Dies Iræ & De Profundis) was the responsibility of the Superintendant de la Musique de la Chambre – Lully. He took this opportunity to develop the genre of the grand ceremonial motet using the combined forces of the two choirs and a rich orchestration.

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Tage Alter Musik Regensburg 2019

Tage Alter Musik Regensburg 2019
Bavaria, Germany. 7-10 June 2019

The Regensburg Tage Alter Musik festival takes place annually from Friday to Monday over the Pentecost/Whitsun weekend, whose dates move linked to Easter. The 2019 festival, the 35th, took place over the weekend of 7-10 June, rather later than in previous years and the latest Pentecost weekend until 2030. With 15 concerts over these four days, it is a total immersion of early music performed in some spectacular buildings in Regensburg city centre. The historic city of Regensburg has its roots in the Celtic settlement of Radasbona and the Roman Castra Regina fort, remnants of which can still be seen. It was the early Medieval capital of Bavaria. The 12th-century bridge over the Danube increased its importance as a Free Imperial City within the Holy Roman Empire. It adopted the Reformation in 1542 but retained its Catholic Cathedral and Abbeys. From 1663 to 1806, it was the permanent seat of the Imperial Diet of the Holy Roman Empire, the so-called ‘Perpetual Diet’. The whole of the historic city centre is now a World Heritage Site. Continue reading

Lully: Armide

Lully: Armide
Les Talens Lyrique, Choeur de chambre de Namur, Christophe Rousset
Aparte AP135. 2CDs. 75’+74′

In sharp contrast to the pared down version of Lully’s Armide I reviewed here, this CD is the real thing, in a stunning performance by Les Talens Lyrique under Christophe Rousset, with a fine cast of soloists and the Choeur de chambre de Namur in support. It is a live recording of a concert given in the Grande Salle Pierre Boulez of the Philharmonie de Paris in December 2015, although there is no evidence of an audience or other extraneous noises that I could hear. Continue reading

Alessandro Scarlatti: Passio Secundum Johannem

Alessandro Scarlatti: Passio Secundum Johannem
Chœur de Chambre de Namur, Millenium Orchestra, Leonardo García Alarcón
Ricercar RJC 378. 57’30 

Passio Secundum JohannemIf you can listen to the first two tracks of this recording without being smitten by the extraordinary musical and emotional power, you are probably on a different musical planet to me. The richly sonorous and harmonically intense opening chorus (a Responsory for Holy Week) segues straight into the opening section of the Passio Secundum Johannem. The orchestral introduction is a glorious harmonic construction, leading to the evocative voice of mezzo-soprano Giuseppina Bridelli, singing the role of Testo (the Evanglelist).  Continue reading