Music for a Sun King


No agenda here other than to share my enthusiasm for a recent purchase. 'M. A. Charpentier at the Chapelle Royale de Versailles' is the new 2 CD + DVD set from Jordi Savall, Montserrat Figueras, La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Le Concert des Nations, and it couples the composer's Canticum ad Beatam Virginem Mariam with his Missa Assumpta est Maria and two instrumental works for viols. The Canticum ad Beatam Virginem Mariam is remastered from a 1989 Astrée release, the Missa Assumpta est Maria was captured at a 2004 concert for both the audio and video versions, and the instrumental works are new recordings. All the transfers to CD/SACD are of the highest quality, and the discs come in Alia Vox's signature lavish presentation for the price of three mid-price CDs*. There are many good reasons to buy this new release; one of these is because, as Jordi Savall describes in a typically thoughtful booklet essay, Marc Antoine Charpentier (together with Henry Purcell) played a key role in Western art music's transition from modality to tonality. The header photo was taken by me at Thiksay Monastery in Ladakh, India.

* It seems Alia Vox's UK distributor priced first shipments of the Charpentier release incorrectly, which means it was sold initially for around £12 - copies can still be found at that price in some outlets; my copy was bought at Prelude Records, Norwich. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use", for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.

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