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The CDs contained in this package are not new issues – indeed one of them is almost 15 years old. The reason for their assembly is to mark the 300th anniversary of the death of Louis the Fourteenth. Lully was the Sun King’s music superintendent until his death in 1687 and he is represented here by his sumptuous setting of the Te Deum. Alongside is Charpentier’s famous setting of the canticle. He never held a court appointment but we know from contemporary reports that the King enjoyed his music.

Another composer who excelled in the sphere of sacred music was Henri Du Mont. He played an important role in establishing the structure of the ‘grand motet’ and four such pieces written for the King’s chapel at the Louvre palace – Mansart’s masterpiece at Versailles was not completed until 1710 – are included in the anthology. The third disc offers a conspectus of solo vocal and instrumental forms by assorted composers of the ‘grand siècle’. Airs by Michel Lambert and Campra are interspersed with dances from the Lully-Molière comédie-ballet Le bourgeois Gentilhomme, solo harpsichord pieces by Chambonnières, D’Anglebert, Le Roux, Louis and François Couperin and pièces de viole by Marais. All-in-all a stylish tribute to the ‘Plus Grand Roi du Monde’.

Nicholas Anderson Read the full review on Agora Classica


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