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

Toulouse les Orgues: 20th International Festival

Toulouse les Orgues: 20th International Festival
“The organ: fabulous musical machine”
7-18 October 2015

The city of Toulouse has nine historic organs on the national protected listed monuments schedule, together with many other instruments in the surrounding Midi-Pyrénéés region. It is something of a pilgrimage site for organ lovers; an appropriate description, as much of its early importance came from the Basilica of St. Sernin and its key position on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. The Toulouse les Orgues organisation has a year-round responsibility for the maintenance of most of the organs in the city, as well as a thriving educational and outreach remit. In addition, they organise the annual international festival and the occasional International Xavier Darasse Organ Competition. This year was the 20th anniversary of the festival. It’s motto ‘The organ: fabulous musical machine” was reflected in a vast array of musical events and presentations, featuring not just the organ in its various incarnations, but also an impressive breadth of other musical activity. Continue reading