- Psalmus 75 "Nautus in Judea Deus"
- De Profundis
- Exaudiat te Dominus (Psalm 19 (20)), grand motet (prev. attrib. Blanchard)
- Requiem Mass: Introït: Requiem æternam
Campra: Grand Motetsby William Christie
This splendid disc is an excellent introduction to a Baroque figure who composed sacred and secular music with equal authority and success. In his grands motets, especially the mature works featured on this splendid disc, André Campra (1660-1744) did not hesitate to introduce dazzling, technically demanding passages, both vocal and instrumental, which bring to mind the sumptuous glamour of Baroque operas. However, as William Christie's impeccable performance makes abundantly clear, these are profoundly spiritual works. While one is easily and understandably seduced by the sheer brilliance of the performance, the ensemble and soloists wear their great virtuosity lightly, so to speak, immediately revealing the music's spiritual depth. Naturally, Campra, like other great French composers of sacred music, paid close attention to the biblical text, often allowing the narrative to guide his musical inspiration. However, while Baroque composers of sacred music in France recognized the expressive power of rhetoric, rhetorical principles never completely defined music as an artistic experience. Thus, for example, in the motet "De profundis," based on the meditation on despair in Psalm 129, the listener immediately, even without any reliance on the text, enters into a spiritual realm in which profound despair carries the promise of divine illumination. In Campra's music, like in reality, enlightenment is a process consisting of subtle transformations and revelations, and the performers (chorus, soloists, and instrumentalists) express all the contrasts, hidden beauties, unexpected insights, and religious passions of Campra's music. Not only does the dark luminosity of the ensemble's inimitable sound create an atmosphere of enchantment, but the performance removes the music from the confines of metric structure and perceived linearity, restoring it to a natural realm of imprecise precision, undefinable beauty, and unfathomable content.
- Release Date:
- Virgin France
Performance CreditsWilliam Christie Primary Artist
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