Charpentier: Messe de Minuit - in Nativatem Domini Canticum
Sébastien Daucé, Ensemble Correspondances
Harmonia Mundi HMM902707
It's not just that Marc Antoine Charpentier (1643 - 1704) is so well known for his Messe de Minuit or that Ensemble Correspondances already have such a well-lauded relationship with his music that you should pay attention to this new album; it's also because this programme offers two of Charpentier's dramatic motets previously known primarily from performances by William Christie. The comparison is favourable and fascinating.
Daucé's direction shines through from the start with Brossard's Elevatio O miraculum! My overwhelming reaction to this disc is to praise the warmth of the sound: but the captivating hushed opening of this motet combined with the softly accented Latin is nothing short of breathtaking.
Charpentier's two dramatic motets are well contrasted and align this programme almost exactly with Christie's 2001 Erato recording. Daucé digs deep for a really sombre tone for In nativitatem Domini canticum, H. 416 it works beautifully for the prelude but hinders the solo comforting the daughter of Sion. Yet it's all worth it for the interlude "Nuit" which Graham Sadler in his excellent note likens to a Lullian sommeil. [...]
For the full text of this review please see Gramophone magazine (November 2023)