Sunday, 17 February 2008

58. Marc-Antoine Charpentier - Te Deum (1690s)


Title: Te Deum
Performer: Les Arts Florissants
Director: William Christie
Year: 1989
Length: 23 minutes


The prelude of this Te Deum will make a smile come to the face of anyone in Europe, as it has been co-opted decades ago as the music for the Eurovision Broadcasting thing, meaning that if you have Eurovision Song Contest or more frequently as a child growing up in a Formula 1 obsessed house on every single Formula 1 broadcast. So this is probably the most familiar tune to me on the list up until now.

But frankly that shouldn't taint what is a pretty great piece of music, if we ignore the Prelude which has all the pomposity associated with Louis XIV the rest of the Te Deum is just as great. And great is definitely the word here, grandiose is what Charpentier is going for and he does it beautifully.

The choirs are pretty amazing with the last movement neatfully mirroring the prelude in it's greatness. Fun, beauty and grandiosity in a little Charpentier pack. Get it.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Beginning around 1672, he worked with Molière, after Molière's falling out with Jean-Baptiste Lully. During the 1680s Charpentier served as maître de musique at the Jesuits' Paris church of St. Louis. In addition, Charpentier served as the music teacher to Philippe, Duke of Chartres. Charpentier was appointed maître de musique à la Sainte Chapelle in 1698, a post he held until his death in 1704. One of his most famous compositions during his tenure was the Mass "Assumpta Est Maria" (H.11).

Eurovision, Charpentier's Te Deum Prelude:


blondbearnl said...

William Christie et Les Arts Florissants and Charpentier are almost inseperable now. WE owe a lot to mr. Christie for putting Charpentier conspicuously on the map. Charpentier's prelude to the Te Deum is together with the intro fro the 5th of Beethoven the best known classical piece of music, but hardly anyone knows it is Charpentier. In 2006 a brillaint production was released by William Christie on Virgin Classics. This time Charpentier's Judicium Salomonis. the 1st min ute and 22 seconds is almost as beautiful as the opening of the Te Deum and the rest carries on with the same magnificence, instrumentally and vocally. Together with the Te Deum and Idemenee Charpentier's best work I think.

Francisco Silva said...

I really like William Christie, he also did a great job with the production of Handel operas, I've seen the DVDs of Giulio Cesare and Rodelinda with Christie and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and they were both pretty great.

On the subject of Charpentier, I really think French Baroque music should be better known generally, there's some great stuff there.