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Louis XIV recruited composer Michel-Richard de Lalande for his Chapel Royal and Majesté captures the febrile atmosphere in which Le Roi Soleil came close to deification in three ostensibly sacred works. Soloists, choir and orchestra of Ensemble Aedes bring an impressive emotional range, considerable style, elegance, colour and expertise to the veritable acoustics of Versailles, burnished with ‘spirit of place’. Spirited in spades is the recording of Benevolo’s Missa Si Deus pro nobis which finds classy French group Le Concert Spirituel in stunning form with polychoral Counter-Reformation delights in a recording that places the listener in the centre of a vast ecclesiastical space. Toe-curlingly sonorous, eight choirs of voices and instruments combine in music of 16 parts in a triumph of sumptuously calorific Catholicism in the face of Protestant challenge and social change.

REBECCA TAVENER Read the full review on Agora Classica

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