Blanchard: Magnificat à la Chapelle Royale

Blanchard: Magnificat à la Chapelle Royale
Trois motets à grand chœur
Chœur de chambre Les Eléments, Orchestra Les Passions, Jean-Marc Andrieu
Ligia: Lidi 020231-16, 77’00

Antoine Blanchard: Magnificat (1741), De Profundis (1740), In exitu Israel (1749)

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Antoine Blanchard (1696-1770) is a rather shadowy figure in French musical history. There is far more information in Bernadette Lespinard’s detailed CD notes than can be found in other source that I could find on the internet in English. He is sometimes given the additional first names of Esprit-Joseph, although he never used them himself. He was a choirboy in the Saint-Sauveur Cathedral in Aix-en-Provence, and became a cleric from about 18. Transgression of the rules led to his departure from this role after only one year. He then moved to Marseilles as director of music at Saint-Victor, although he spent two years away in Toulon, detained there by the plague. Whilst building up his contacts in Paris, he worked in the choir school at Amiens Cathedral, eventually getting a Royal appointment in the Versailles Musique de la Chapelle in 1738.

The three large-scale motets à grand chœur recorded here (two are world première recordings) represent the music of the Court Chapel of Louis XV in the 1740s. Shorn of some of the daintiness and delicacy of the high baroque, Continue reading

Destouches & Delalande: Les Éléments

Destouches & Delalande: Les Éléments
Ensemble les Surprises, L-N Bestion de Camboulas
Ambronay AMY046. 75’47

Les ÉlémentsThe creation of the opera-ballet Les Éléments has links with the courtly and musical politics of Paris. Louis XIV died in 1715, leaving as his successor a five-year old fragile child. One of the focuses of the Regency was to ensure that the young Louis XV would survive at least as long as it took for him to father a successor to the throne. Dance was seen as a suitable approach to both encourage his own development, and to show to others that he was capable of succeeding his long-lived father and, eventually, to do his bit for the future of the royal line. To this end, several ballets were commissioned, usually giving the King a moment to strut his stuff in front of the assembled courtiers.

One such was Les Éléments, performed in 1721 in a small theatre constructed in the galleries of the Tuileries palace, a less intimidating space Continue reading