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Campra: Grands Motets / Christie, Les Arts Florissants

Release Date: 11/04/2003 
Label:  Virgin Classics Veritas Catalog #: 545618   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  André Campra
Performer:  Paul AgnewJaël AzzarettiAndrew Foster-WilliamsNicolas Rivenq,   ... 
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Though credited with inventing the "opera-ballet" and known primarily today for his numerous spirited stage productions, the remarkably prolific French Baroque composer André Campra was equally famous in his time as a church musician, penning (as of last count) no fewer than 60 "petits motets" and 51 "grands motets" (ones scored for full orchestra, choir, and soloists). In 1993 Les Arts Florissants director William Christie (performing on organ) shared continuo roles with viola da gambist Anna-Marie Lasla (who returns here), supporting soprano Jacqueline Nicolas in a lovely and highly acclaimed program of six of Campra's petit motets for the Pierre Verany label.
Read more Now with much more Campra under his belt (including the premiere recording of Idomeneo, one of his most famous operas) Christie here offers an equally stunning program conducting three of Campra's grand motets as well as a choral fragment--the Introit from his Requiem.

Given how active Campra was as an opera composer it's not surprising that equally rich gestural and melodic elements are often heard in these motets. For instance, the fifth movement of Notus in Judea Deus (In Judah is God known) features a highly dramatic bass duet powerfully rendered here by Andrew Foster-Williams and Arnaud Marzorati. Heightened by Christie's crisper, more urgent articulation (particularly from the strings) Les Arts Florissants now marginally outclasses my long-standing reference recording--Herve Niquet and Le Concert Spirituel's otherwise fine performance on Adda. (Enthusiastic listeners new to Campra would do well to seek out all three unfortunately deleted volumes Niquet devoted to the composer, featuring two extraordinary soloists--the youthful Veronique Gens and countertenor extraordinaire Jean-Paul Fouchécourt.) Equally exuberant is baritone Nicolas Rivenq's opening aria to Exaudiat te Dominus (May the Lord hear thee), the program's most consistently upbeat motet. Preceded by an orchestral pomp and fanfare worthy of Handel, Rivenq's proclamations, though short, are stunning--as are the rousing choral, brass, and percussion forces that follow.

Christie concludes the program with the Introit movement of Campra's well-tended Requiem--Herreweghe (Harmonia Mundi), Gardiner (Erato), and again Niquet all claim remarkably lucid, impassioned performances on disc. Though Christie favors a slightly slower tempo than all three, like Herreweghe he places primary emphasis on the movement's rhythmic structure, heightening its sense of grandeur and solemn nobility. If Christie's intention here was to whet our appetites for a complete performance of the piece, he has succeeded. Virgin's sound is excellent--spacious and slightly reverberant while preserving instrumental and vocal detail. This is a very rewarding release and highly recommended, especially to those unfamiliar with this unjustifiably neglected composer.
--John Greene, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

De profundis by André Campra
Performer:  Paul Agnew (Tenor), Jaël Azzaretti (Soprano), Andrew Foster-Williams (Bass),
Nicolas Rivenq (Baritone)
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1723; France 
Date of Recording: 09/2002 
Venue:  Cité de la Musique, Concert Hall, Paris 
Length: 18 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Pseaumes (2) mis en musique ŕ grand choeur, Book 1: no 1, Notus in Judea Deus by André Campra
Performer:  Andrew Foster-Williams (Bass), Arnaud Marzoratti (Bass), Paul Agnew (Tenor)
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1737; France 
Date of Recording: 09/2002 
Venue:  Cité de la Musique, Concert Hall, Paris 
Length: 21 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Requiem Mass: Introitus by André Campra
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1722; France 
Language: Latin 
Exaudiat te Dominus by André Campra
Performer:  Bruno Renhold (Tenor), Paul Agnew (Tenor), Nicolas Rivenq (Baritone),
Arnaud Marzoratti (Bass), Andrew Foster-Williams (Bass)
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1703; France 
Language: Latin 

Sound Samples

Notus in Judea Deus (1729): Notus in Judea Deus (Recit de basse-taille)
Notus in Judea Deus (1729): Ibi confregit (Choeur)
Notus in Judea Deus (1729): Illuminans tu mirabiliter (Choeur)
Notus in Judea Deus (1729): Dormierunt somnum suum ( Recit de dessus)
Notus in Judea Deus (1729): Ab increpatione ( Recit de basse-taille & duo de basses-taille)
Notus in Judea Deus (1729): De coelo auditum (Choeur)
Notus in Judea Deus (1729): Cum exurgeret (Recit de haute-contre)
Notus in Judea Deus (1729): Vovete et reddite (Recit de taille)
Notus in Judea Deus (1729): Terribili et ei qui aufert (Choeur)
De profundis: Symphonie
De profundis: De profundis clamavi (Recit de basse-taille)
De profundis: Si iniquitates (Recit de haute-contre)
De profundis: Quia apus te (Choeur)
De profundis: A custodia (Recit de dessus)
De profundis: Qui apus te (Trio haute-contre/taille/basse-taille)
De profundis: Et ipse rediment (Dialogue haute-contre/taille/basse-taille)
De profundis: Requiem (Choeur)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Exaudiat te Dominus (Recit de taille)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Mittat tibi auxilium ( Choeur)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Memor sit omnis sacrificii tui (Dialogue haute-conte/basse-taille)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Lµtabimur in salutari tuo (Choeur & basse-taille)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Impleat Dominus (Duo haute-contre/taille)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Hii in curribus (Duo de basses-tailles)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Ipsi obligate sunt (Choeur)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Domine salvum fac Regem (Trio haute-contre/taille/basse-taille)
Exaudiat te Dominus (psaume 19): Et exaudi nos (Choeur)
Requiem: Requiem (Choeur)

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