- O praecelsum, motet for soprano (or countertenor), alto (or tenor), bass & continuo
- O dulcissima, for voices, 2 violins, 2 violas, basse de violon & continuo
- Allemanda gravis, for organ (or 3 viols, bass viol & continuo) in C major (from "Cantica Sacra")
- O mysterium, for voice, 2 violins, 2 violas, bass violone & continuo
- Desidero te, motet for soprano, alto, bass countertenor & continuo
You might think of Henry du Mont, whose music is represented on this gorgeously recorded Harmonia Mundi release, as a kind of sacred counterpart to Jean-Baptiste Lully. Both served Louis XVI for many years and supplied music for the machinery of the Sun King's court. For several reasons, Lully is a fixture of music and du Mont is unknown. One is that du Mont's music has come down to the present in a fragmentary form, with the all-important instrumental parts, in which the concept of a string- (and soon wind-) accompanied motet rapidly developed under du Mont's care, in especially bad shape. What is recorded here are reconstructions by the present conductor Sébastien Daucé; the booklet describes them as experimental, but in terms of sheer musicality they work beautifully. The album title Motets & Élévations is a bit confusing; "élévations" are themselves motets, to be used at the elevation of the Host during Mass. These feature reduced scoring, but all the music, even the "grands motets," has a contemplative tone. Sample the title track. There are a few larger pieces, like "O dulcissima," but Charpentier was soon to exceed these in expressive scope. This is perhaps the other major reason du Mont's music has never caught on: it's all painted on a rather small canvas in low contrast. That is not to say it's inexpressive -- the words are illustrated with small chromatic touches of great subtlety and beauty -- but it doesn't grab you. The performances by Daucé's Ensemble Correspondances, however, have the carefully pruned lushness characteristic of this group, and the album may be enthusiastically recommended to lovers of the French Baroque.
|Label:||Harmonia Mundi Fr.|