Charpentier: Judicium Salomonis

Charpentier: Judicium Salomonis

by William Christie
     
 

This Virgin Classics release reunites William Christie and Les Arts Florissants with the music of Marc-Antoine Charpentier, a composer for whom it can be said Christie has done more to expose than any other he has taken on. This is saying a lot, as Christie has also made extensive recorded forays into the works of See more details below

Overview

This Virgin Classics release reunites William Christie and Les Arts Florissants with the music of Marc-Antoine Charpentier, a composer for whom it can be said Christie has done more to expose than any other he has taken on. This is saying a lot, as Christie has also made extensive recorded forays into the works of Campra, Lully, Montéclair, Monteverdi, Purcell, and in particular, Handel. However, Charpentier remains a special case to Christie, and there is still a monumental amount of unrecorded music by this composer to exploit. The two works on Virgin Classics' Charpentier: Judicium Salomonis actually have been recorded before, though not often and not by well-known groups like Christie's -- the "Motet pour une longue Offrande" has been recorded by Philippe Herreweghe and that's about it in terms of the competition. Virgin's recording, made in the Théâtre de Poissy, is very excellent -- warm, clear, and full bodied. Christie's soloists -- countertenors Paul Agnew and Marc Molomot, bass João Fernandes, alto Ana Quintans, and the others -- all turn in splendid performances, as does the band under Christie's direction. As in Charpentier's opera, "Médée," which Christie recorded in a definitive reading on Erato some years back, Charpentier's music is lush, languid, and sometimes makes use of surprisingly advanced-sounding harmonies. But neither the dramatic motet "Judicium Salomonis" or the "Motet pour une longue Offrande" are as captivating as "Médée"; listen as one might through these long-seeming works and to the generally lovely sound made by Les Arts Florissants, the whole thing sounds musically dead and is rather dull overall. Long stretches of densely polyphonic writing work toward a big climax that sits there for a second, and then picks up with another dense, polyphonic passage. This same formal strategy is repeated several times; it is as though the busier and more florid the texture is, the more Charpentier likes it, and he doesn't know when to quit, to provide something more direct, if nothing more than just to rest one's ears for a bit. While one may complain about the lengthiness of some of the arias in Johann Sebastian Bach's cantatas, at least they serve the purpose of making the choruses more interesting. Charpentier: Judicium Salomonis just wears you out, and long before one gets to its conclusion. Concerning William Christie and Les Arts Florissants, they are as fine here as they've always been, and Charpentier: Judicium Salomonis is probably the most deluxe package that these works will ever enjoy. Whether these particular pieces are worthy of such deluxe treatment is another matter. If one is a die-hard Charpentier enthusiast, this might be the best thing since sliced bread, but "heavy" and "ponderous" are both very good words to describe the effect of Virgin Classics' Charpentier: Judicium Salomonis.

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Editorial Reviews

Gramophone - David Vickers
A vitalised whirl through two of Charpentier's substantial grand motets.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/03/2006
Label:
Virgin Classics
UPC:
0094635929423
catalogNumber:
59294

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Judicium Salomonis, histoire sacrée for 7 voices, chorus, instruments & continuo, H. 422  - Marc-Antoine Charpentier  - Paul Agnew  - William Christie  - Neal Davies  - Alain Lanceron  - Guido Reni  - Marc Molomot  -  Les Arts Florissants  -  Les Arts Florissants  - Marc Mauillon  - João Fernandes  - Leif Aruhn-Solén  - Ana Quintans
  2. Motet pour une longue offrande, for 5 voices, chorus, instruments & contiuo, H. 434  - Marc-Antoine Charpentier  - William Christie  - Neal Davies  - Alain Lanceron  - Guido Reni  - Marc Molomot  -  Les Arts Florissants  -  Les Arts Florissants  - João Fernandes  - Leif Aruhn-Solén  - Maud Gnidzaz  - Ana Quintans

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