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Michel Corrette: Messe A L'usage Des Dames Religieuses

Corrette / Concert Des Dames / Greuillet
Release Date: 05/08/2012 
Label:  Hortus   Catalog #: 47   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Guillaume Gabriel NiversMichel Corrette
Performer:  Damien ColcombCatherine GreuilletJulie Robard
Conductor:  Frédéric Bourdin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CORRETTE Messe à l’usage des Dames Religieuses Frédéric Bourdin (ten, cond); Catherine Greuillet, Emmanuelle Martin, Julie Robard (sop); Damien Colcomb (org); Le Concert des Dames HORTUS 047 (62:42)


One tends to find much excitement in the large-scale and often brilliant orchestral Masses of the 18th century, so much so that one tends to forget that often the day-to-day services, particularly in abbeys, were on a much less grand scale. Indeed, these were sung by one or two soloists, a Read more chorus made up of the monastic brethren or sisters, and usually accompanied only by the church organ. While not as exciting or as musically grandiose as the larger celebratory works, these were intimate, tuneful, and every bit as pious as their expansive counterparts. Indeed, in many places, such smaller and more secluded venues offered an opportunity to explore compositional aspects that would have seemed either simplistic or out of touch in larger public services. Such is the subject of this disc, whose full title reads Messe à deux voix égales avec l’accompagnement de l’orgue, à l’usage des Dames Religieuses , a mouthful that has been truncated for the title. It was written by Michel Corrette (1707–95), otherwise known in history for his flute music. Although the son of an organist, he made a name for himself as the director of the street opera produced at the fairs at St. Germain and St. Laurent. Thereafter his music, mostly concertos and chamber pieces, appeared with considerable regularity both in print and in the salons and public concerts of Paris. He even embraced the French Revolution, writing one of the first popular settings of the “Ça ira” text. His private life, however, he kept private. It is known that he was a Jesuit, often styling himself as a “Chevalier de l’Ordre du Christ” on his publications, and in the service of several noble households he obtained further honorary knighthoods. Not everyone was happy with his success, however, for his students were contemptuously labeled les anachorètes (the anchorites), which in French turns out to be a rather nasty pun that translates as “Corrette’s asses.”


During his long life, Corrette turned out numerous collections of compositions for both voices and instruments, all of which were composed with taste and inventiveness. This disc has two purposes: first, to create a complete French service that might have been heard in a convent of the late pre-Revolutionary period; and second, to demonstrate how this sort of music would have been performed. In aid of the first, director Frédéric Bourdin has used one of four Masses meant for women’s voices and published in a manual in 1788, interspersing it with organ pieces that Corrette had published back in 1734, adding the usual plainsong incipits in the Gloria and Credo (which he himself sings, but which originally probably would have been intoned by a male celebrant) and works of the Proper taken from “updated” chant composed and published by Guillaume Nivers (1632–1714). At the end is the usual motet Domine salvum fac regem , a mandatory but always freely composed paean to the King, this time set as a slightly naughty musette. The music is carefully contrived, with no extremes of range or real virtuoso moments, and the soloists weave effortlessly in and out of the women’s chorus, a call-and-response technique that offers considerable textural variety. Very little counterpoint is encountered, and the sonorities of parallel thirds and sixths predominate. This would be perhaps considered extremely conservative, save that the composer often drops the accompanying organ away, such as in the heartfelt “Quoniam tu solus sanctus” of the Gloria, and uses the lightest registral accompaniment in the soft Sanctus, and when the soloists enter with the “Osanna in excelsis” the mood brightens along with the texture and melismatic solo lines. Often the lines seem to call for a larger orchestral accompaniment, but Corrette anticipates this by asking for multiple organ stops, and indeed in such movements as the Benedictus the organ becomes an equal melodic line to the voices.


It is hard to discuss historical performance practice here. To be sure, the light, pure voices of the three sopranos, who alternate their parts, are sung with minimal vibrato and with special attention to clarity of line, something that one truly appreciates when hearing vocal performances of music of this time. Since it is a Mass, one does not expect and does not receive an operatic rendition, especially since the only accompaniment is an organ. The instrument used, the grand Baroque organ at the Mondaye Abbey, is capable of huge sound, as in the full-bodied Agnus Dei, but it is also quite effective in smaller registrations. Organist Damien Colcomb chooses those that complement the sentiment of the text and the voices perfectly. The women’s chorus Le Concert des Dames is likewise crystal-clear in sound. In short, this is a wonderful disc and even if ordinary religious music is not everyone’s thing, this should be a part of every 18th-century collection in that it shows the vibrancy of daily musical life and the creative music written for the secluded convents.


FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

1.
Gaudeamus, introit for chorus & organ by Guillaume Gabriel Nivers
Performer:  Damien Colcomb (Organ)
Conductor:  Frédéric Bourdin
Written: 1733 
Venue:  L'abbaye de Mondaye, Calvados 
Length: 1 Minutes 29 Secs. 
2.
Messe à l'usage des Dames Religieuses, for voices, chorus & organ by Michel Corrette
Performer:  Damien Colcomb (Organ)
Conductor:  Frédéric Bourdin
Written: 1787 
Venue:  L'abbaye de Mondaye, Calvados 
Length: 1 Minutes 58 Secs. 
3.
Propter veritatem, gradual for chorus & organ by Guillaume Gabriel Nivers
Performer:  Damien Colcomb (Organ)
Conductor:  Frédéric Bourdin
Written: 1733 
Venue:  L'abbaye de Mondaye, Calvados 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
4.
Grand Jeu du 5e Ton, for organ by Michel Corrette
Performer:  Damien Colcomb (Organ)
Conductor:  Frédéric Bourdin
Venue:  L'abbaye de Mondaye, Calvados 
Length: 4 Minutes 5 Secs. 
5.
Magnificat du 2e Ton: Trio à trois claviers by Michel Corrette
Performer:  Damien Colcomb (Organ)
Conductor:  Frédéric Bourdin
Venue:  L'abbaye de Mondaye, Calvados 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
6.
Optimam partem, communion for chorus & organ by Guillaume Gabriel Nivers
Performer:  Damien Colcomb (Organ)
Conductor:  Frédéric Bourdin
Written: 1733 
Venue:  L'abbaye de Mondaye, Calvados 
Length: 0 Minutes 44 Secs. 
7.
Magnificat du 3e et 4e Ton: Cromhorne en Taille by Michel Corrette
Performer:  Damien Colcomb (Organ)
Conductor:  Frédéric Bourdin
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  L'abbaye de Mondaye, Calvados 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
8.
Domine salvum fac regem, for voices, chorus & organ by Michel Corrette
Performer:  Damien Colcomb (Organ), Catherine Greuillet (), Julie Robard ()
Conductor:  Frédéric Bourdin
Venue:  L'abbaye de Mondaye, Calvados 
Length: 3 Minutes 12 Secs. 
9.
Magnificat a MI la 3#: Plein Jeu by Michel Corrette
Performer:  Damien Colcomb (Organ)
Conductor:  Frédéric Bourdin
Venue:  L'abbaye de Mondaye, Calvados 
Length: 1 Minutes 40 Secs. 

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