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Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Sacred Music

Harmony of Voices - Fredrik Malmberg

Salve Regina
Beatus vir
Le Reniement de Saint Pierre
Stabat Mater
Te Deum
Transfige dulcissime Jesu

Proprius Records PRCD 2031 [57 mins]

One of the most desirable CDs to reach us in the composer's tercentenary year (he lived into the 18th century) is this relatively modest collection of motets and Stabat Mater.

The programme opens with a poignant setting of Salve Regina, one of half a dozen he completed. Charpentier's French and Latin oratorios exemplify his dramatic word-setting skills and here we have Peter's foreseen, and quickly regretted, denial. The recordings, of admirable clarity and atmosphere were recorded in October 2003 two Stockholm churches, the Stabat Mater in a more reverberative one in appreciation of its particular character.

The soloists are drawn from the small choir, numbering 13, and each is so good that one is glad they are individually named and identified for each track. The exuberant Te Deum suffers not at all from the lack of kettledrums and trumpets commonly included to this celebratory text. The instrumental continuo support on this CD gives exactly what is required; I have played it all through twice with equal pleasure on rehearing all this delectable music by a composer who will certainly not slip back into his comparatively recent former obscurity.

© Peter Grahame Woolf