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Desmarest: Mass For 2 Choirs And Orchestras / Schneebeli


Release Date: 05/01/2001 
Label:  Virgin Classics Special Import Catalog #: 45416   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Louis MarchandHenry Desmarest
Performer:  Frédéric Desenclos
Conductor:  Olivier Schneebeli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Pages de la ChapelleLes Chantres de la ChapelleNova Stravaganza
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

A convincing reconstruction of Desmarest’s incomplete Mass in a performance that conveys well the work’s grandeur.

Henry Desmarest is still a scarcely recorded composer, but Les Arts Florissants’ recent account of three of his grands motets (Erato, 12/00) was for me one of the highlights of last year’s releases. Now comes a double rarity: more music by Desmarest, the talented Lully disciple who spent his last 40 years in exile after escaping a death sentence for abduction; and a large-scale Mass setting from a time when the top French composers favoured the grand motet as the principal form of sacred composition. This Mass for soloists, double choir and orchestra – thought to have been written around 1710 – survives
Read more incomplete in that most of the inner instrumental parts were missing and have had to be reconstructed for this performance, but there is certainly enough here to give a convincingly complete picture of the piece. And once again Desmarest’s handiwork looks very impressive indeed. Lasting about 55 minutes, it encompasses richly varied but always strongly written choral movements, sober orchestral symphonies and attractive vocal solos and small ensembles, the latter including a searingly expressive ‘Crucifixus’.

The performance, by a rather disparate amalgam of ensembles, successfully conveys the grandeur of the work, helped no doubt by the fact that it takes place in the Royal Chapel at Versailles. While it suffers from the usual problems of performing and recording in a resonant building – namely lack of presence or clarity and occasional difficulties of ensemble – and although the contributions of the solo ensemble are rather uneven and the Gloria and Credo intonations have a Byzantine fervour which is almost scary, in general Desmarest is very well served by this committed and sympathetic performance. The Mass is interspersed with organ pieces by Louis Marchand – played with noisy relish on the chapel’s splendid organ by Frederic Desenclos – and the addition at the end of Desmarest’s short but tuneful setting of Domine salvum fac regem, the customary way to round off a Mass in the presence of the king, adds to the imposing sense of occasion.

Lindsay Kemp, GRAMOPHONE (3/2001)
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Works on This Recording

1.
Première livre d'orgue: no 1, Plein Jeu by Louis Marchand
Performer:  Frédéric Desenclos (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
2.
Deuxième livre d'orgue: Fond d'orgue by Louis Marchand
Performer:  Frédéric Desenclos (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
3.
Première livre d'orgue: no 5, Quatuor by Louis Marchand
Performer:  Frédéric Desenclos (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: France 
4.
Troisième livre d'orgue: Grand Dialogue in C major by Louis Marchand
Performer:  Frédéric Desenclos (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1696; France 
5.
Messe à deux choeurs et deux orchestres by Henry Desmarest
Conductor:  Olivier Schneebeli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Pages de la Chapelle,  Les Chantres de la Chapelle,  Nova Stravaganza
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1704; France 
Language: Latin 
6.
Exaudiat te Dominus: Domine salvum fac regem by Henry Desmarest
Conductor:  Olivier Schneebeli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Pages de la Chapelle,  Les Chantres de la Chapelle,  Nova Stravaganza
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1703; France 
Language: Latin 

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