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Music for the Virgin Mary - Concerto delle Donne

Music for the Virgin Mary - Concerto delle Donne-Choir-Choral Collection
ID: SIGCD073 (EAN: 635212007327)  | 1 CD | DDD
Publi: 2006
Signum Records
Choral Collection
CHARPENTIER, Gustave | CHARPENTIER, Marc-Antoine | LEBÈGUE, Nicolas-Antoine | LULLY, Jean-Baptiste | NIVERS, Guillaume Gabriel
ALLAN, Miriam (soprano) | ASHTON, Caroline (soprano) | BEVAN, Rachel (soprano) | CASSIDY, Jennie (soprano) | DEAM, Donna (soprano) | FAIRBAIRN, Charlotte (soprano) | NEWTON, Faye (soprano) | ROSS, Alastair (organ) | ROSS, Gill (soprano) | SCHWEDHELM, Ana Gabriela (soprano)
Chef d'orchestre:
ROSS, Alistair
Pour plus amples dtails:

Recorded in the beatiful church of Notre Dame, Rozay-en-Brie, by Concerto Delle Donne, this CD celebrates 300 years of Marc-Antoine Charpentier, whose works ranged from simple settings of hymns composed for unaccompanied solo voice to works of great complexity and virtuosity for soloists, double choir and double orchestra. Here, the focus is on the sacred works that Charpentier composed for two and three solo women's voices. The three principal sopranos of of Concerto delle Donne all feature as soloists. Other composers included on this disc are Jean-Baptiste Lully, Nicholas-Antoine Lebčgue & Guillame-Gabriel Nivers.

Reciting the Divine Office was central to the life of a contemplative nun, and at many convents musical instruction was a regular part of daily life. On major feast-days, it was customary to sing, rather than simply recite, the Offices of Matins and Vespers. Throughout the seventeenth century, there are references to nuns singing the Offices, as well as singing motets during the Mass and at the popular devotional service of Salut (or Benediction). This is witnessed, not only in descriptions from the period, but also in the extensive repertory of sacred music known to have been composed for women’s voices by seventeenth-century composers such as Charpentier, Clérambault, Couperin, Lully and Nivers.

There was a dichotomy in elevated seventeenth-century French society: on the one hand, there was the pomp and ceremony of Court, marked by frivolity and artificiality; on the other hand, there was incredible religious fervour found in the convents and other religious establishments, at which members of Court society spent many hours of each day in pious devotion. These noblewomen balanced the life of luxury and attention to social obligations at Court, with a life of prayer, devotion and service. The Guise princesses, for whom Charpentier worked during the 1670s and 1680s, epitomise the devout noblewoman, fulfilling both their worldly and their religious duties on a daily basis. They were particularly devoted to worship of the Virgin and the Infant Jesus which is reflected in the numerous pieces composed by Charpentier in honour of the Virgin Mary - some of which are recorded here.

The religious practices of convents within Paris differed widely depending on the Order, and this affected the type of music used within the establishment. In keeping with Counter-Reformation ideology, emphasis was placed on devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the penitential rites, as well as the veneration of saints. Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament was seen in the popular evening service of Salut at which the Host was venerated, and hymns, litanies and motets were sung. Motets were also sung during the services held by the confraternities of the Virgin.
Nicolas-Antoine Lebegue  
1. Prélude du cinquième ton (C major)1:14
Marc-Antoine Charpentier  
2. Antiphon Ave Regina coelorum H.193:07
3. Motet Sicut spina rosam H.3092:26
4. Motet Gaude felix Anna H.3151:50
Nicolas-Antoine Lebegue  
5. Tierce en taille du deuxième ton (G minor)3:22
Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers 
6. Antiphon Gabriel Angelus10:00
Marc-Antoine Charpentier  
7. Antiphon Alma redemptoris mater H.213:03
8. Motet Frigidae noctis umbra totum H.42111:16
Nicolas-Antoine Lebegue  
9. Noël: Où s'en vont ces gays bergers?2:35
Jean-Baptiste Lully  
10. Antiphon Salve Regina7:12
Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers 
11. Récit de cromorne du troisième ton (A minor)3:24
Gustave Charpentier  
12. Sequence Stabat Mater pour les religieuses9:09
Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers 
13. Dialogue à deux choeurs du sixième ton (F major)2:26
Marc-Antoine Charpentier  
14. Antiphon Regina coeli laetare2:38
15. Hymn Gaudia Virginis Mariae3:15
Nicolas-Antoine Lebegue  
16. Plein Jeu du huitième ton (G major)2:01


"an engaging combination of tenderness and deeply felt devotional fervour ... the singers' delectably pure, sweet sound, rhythmic liveliness and stylish ornamentation perfectly capture the spirit of some beautiful and inventive music"
Daily Telegraph

"one of the better-preserved French organs of the seventeenth century... The sound quality on this CD is absolutely fantastic, as is the singing. The organ continuo on some of the pieces provides a spectacular effect that can only be produced in a cathedral-performance setting. Lovers of French Baroque music will need to include this CD in their collection"
Opera Today

" Outstanding form the musical and interpretative perspectives, is the motet Frigidae Noctis, which alone makes the CD worthwhile"


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