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Rarely have I seen and heard such a beautifully performed collection of French baroque vocal and instrumental works, here by Charpentier, arguably the finest composer of the period. The two CDs contain motets in honour of the Virgin Mary, the Missa assumpta est Maria (H.11a), the Concert pour quatre parties de violes (H.545) and Nuit (H.416). Charpentier was never a court composer, but the DVD films most of the pieces in a live concert from the Chapelle Royale. A lavish book accompanies the recordings, made in 1989, 2004 and 2013. Savall directs all from the dessus de viole effortlessly.

DAVID PONSFORD Read the full review on Agora Classica

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