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Charpentier: Lecons De Tenebres / Macleod, Kossenko, Arte Dei Suonatori

Charpentier / Arte Dei Suonatori / Kossenko
Release Date: 08/14/2012 
Label:  Alpha Productions   Catalog #: 185   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Performer:  Stephan Macleod
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CHARPENTIER Leçons de Ténèbres Alexis Kossenko, cond; Stephan MacLeod (bs); Arte dei Suonatori (period instruments) ALPHA 185 (65:40 Text and Translation)


The title of this disc is somewhat misleading, since it also includes a number of instrumental works that are not associated with the actual Lamentations. Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704) was one of those native French composers who suffered in the shadow of musical dictator Jean-Baptiste Lully, Read more focusing his efforts mainly on music for the church during the reign of Louis XIV. This is not a fault but rather allows for the listener to hear instrumental interludes that were often used in sacred contexts far removed from the splendor of the court at Versailles. These include several overtures for various processionals, all of which are infused with dance rhythms. A “symphony” in G Minor for trios of flutes and violins moves solemnly upon a deliberate ground bass, while the D-Major Antienne has the flutes imitating trumpets. Perhaps this was a close as Charpentier could get to the awesome instrumental forces available to Lully, or perhaps it was his only means of demonstrating that he could handle them equally as well as his superior.


The motet Pour plusieurs martyrs is a very mysterious work written only for solo voice. Here Charpentier avoids any chant paraphrase, opting for a melodious line that practically begs for some more extensive accompaniment. As a solo work, it stands out starkly and dramatically, a paean for the bass voice. A processional overture follows in the form of a gentle minuet, echoing the call to worship invoked in the motet. The music glides, with lovely textural variation, reducing the forces down to the bare minimum of flutes or violins in duet. When the three Lamentation texts finally arrive, each is prefaced by a solemn graceful instrumental introduction. The entries by the bass float over the suspended strings. Each section thereafter is prefaced by a silence, the length of each specified by the composer. The lines unfold deliberately and with complete harmonic control, the voice integrated into the changing instrumental textures. Cadential conclusions often drop the voice down to its lowest register, giving a sense of finality that underscores the gravity of the text. It is musical architecture at its finest.


Bass Stephen MacLeod performs the Lamentations with a sonorous solemnity that reinforces the serious mood of these works. He never overwhelms the instrumental accompaniment, instead blending with the composer’s subtle textures. Conductor Alexis Kossenko directs a disciplined and well-integrated ensemble. The tempos always let the music flow, and never descend into the lugubrious. In the instrumental pieces, he allows the various sonorities to emerge in turn without any one section dominating. In short, this is an excellent recording that shows that Charpentier was fully Lully’s equal in terms of creativity. The musical architecture is like a magnificent edifice, not imposing or ostentatious, but rather solid, well crafted, and well proportioned. This disc is a must-have for anyone who loves music of the ancien régime.


FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

1.
Pour un reposoir: Ouverture dès que la procession paraît, H 523 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1682-1683; France 
2.
Ouverture pour l'eglise, H 524 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1683; France 
3.
Offerte, H 514 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa ?1671; France 
4.
Offerte non encore exécutée, H 522 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1679; France 
5.
Motet a voix seule, H 361 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Period: Baroque 
6.
Leçons de ténèbres (3): no 3, Misericordiae Domini, H 122 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Performer:  Stephan Macleod (Bass)
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa ?1685; France 
7.
Leçons de ténèbres (3): no 2, De lamentatione Jeremiae, H 121 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Performer:  Stephan Macleod (Bass)
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa ?1685; France 
8.
Leçons de ténèbres (3): no 1, Incipit lamentio, H 120 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Performer:  Stephan Macleod (Bass)
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa ?1685; France 
9.
Antienne pour les violons, flûtes, et hautbois à 4 parties, H 532 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1690; France 
10.
Antienne, H 526 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?late 1680s; France 
11.
Après Confitebor, H 516 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1675; France 
12.
Ouverture pour le sacre d’un évêque, H 536 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?early 1690s; France 
13.
Ouverture pour le sacre d’un évêque, H 537 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?early 1690s; France 
14.
Symphonie in G minor, H 529 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Conductor:  Alexis Kossenko
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arte Dei Suonatori

Sound Samples

Offerte, H. 514
Antienne, H. 532
Symphonie in G minor, H. 529
Ouverture pour le sacre d'un eveque, H. 536
Apres Confitebor: Antienne in D minor, H. 516
Pour plusieurs martyrs: motet a voix seule sans accompagnement, H. 361, "Sancti Dei per fidem"
Pour un reposoir: Ouverture des que la procession parait , H. 523
Ouverture pour le sacre d'un eveque, H. 537
Offerte non encore executee, H. 522
Ouverture pour l'eglise, H. 524
Antienne, H. 526
3 Tenebrae lessons, H. 120-22: No. 1. Incipit lamentio
3 Tenebrae lessons, H. 120-22: No. 2. De lamentatione Jeremiae
3 Tenebrae lessons, H. 120-22: No. 3. Misericordiae Domini

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