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CD 1: Sandrine Rondot (s), Guillemette Laurens (m-s), José Canales (t), Renaud Delaigue (b), Capriccio Stravagante / Skip Sempé (dir/hpschd)
CD 2: Claire Leffilliâtre (s), Marc Pontus (c-t), Serge Goubioud (t), Arnaud Marzoratti (b), Le Poème Harmonique / Vincent Dumestre (dir/lute)
CD 3: Café Zimmermann, Céline Frisch, organ of the Chapelle de l’hôpital de Charles Nicolle, Rouen / Pablo Valetti (dir/vn)
CD4: Amel Brahim-Djelloul (s), Aurore Bucher (s), Reinoud Van Mechelen (c-t), Jeffrey Thompson (t), Benoît Arnould (b), Capella Cracoviensis ( Jan Tomasz Adamus, dir), Le Poème Harmonique / Vincent Dumestre (dir)
CD 5: Anne Magouët (s), Sarah Breton (a), Edwin Crossley-Mercer (b), Ensemble Pierre Robert / Frédéric Desenclos (dir/org – organ by Le Picard/Thomas (1753/2002), Basilica de Tongres, Belgium)
CD 6: Caroline Bardot (s), Juliette Perret (s), Étienne Bazola (bar), Ensemble Correspondances / Sébastien Daucé (dir/org/hpschd)
CD 7: Chantal Santon (s), Kaoli Isshiki (s), Magid El Bushra (c-t), Cyril Auvity (t), Edwin Crossley-Mercer (bar), Il Seminario Musicale / Gérard Lesne (dir/c-t)
CD 8: Stephan Macleod (bar), Arte Dei Suonatori, Alexis Kossenko (dir/fl)
CD 9: Céline Frisch, harpsichord by Émile Jobin after Vincent Tibaut
CD 10: Hasnaa Bennani (s), Isabelle Druet (a), Claire Lefilliâtre (a), Le Poème Harmonique / Vincent Dumestre (dir/theorbo)

This 10-CD boxed set, from the Collection Château de Versailles, contains two CDs (L’île enchantée, and Charpentier and Lully Te Deums) previously released as part of Louis XIV: Les musiques du Roi-Soleil (Alpha 961). The latest set appears intended for the tourist market, being a compilation of recordings made in a variety of venues (only two CDs – nos. 4 and 10 – were recorded in Versailles) over a period of some 14 years. Quality of performances varies quite considerably, with Dumestre’s fast tempi at Versailles contrasting with Desenclos’s more natural and sensitive performances. CDs devoted to Étienne Moulinié (1599-1676), and the psalms, motets and Leçons de ténèbres by Charpentier are very welcome (although both composers, for different reasons, had little to do with Versailles). However, details of the music in the booklet are sketchy and there are no printed texts for the vocal pieces. Two historic organs are used, and the inclusion of D’Anglebert’s fugues and four organ pieces by Louis Marchand create a balanced view of French baroque music, although Marchand’s name is not even mentioned. More care is required. D’Anglebert’s harpsichord suites are stylishly played, but the earlier choral recordings, particularly from Versailles, are recorded rather closely, giving little impression of this famous chapel’s acoustics.

DAVID PONSFORD Read the full review on Agora Classica


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