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American Record Guide: (11/2019) 
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Château de Versailles Spectcles

Code-barres / Barcode : 3770011431137


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Reviewer: John W. Barker

Jarry’s performers (here 28 players and 21 singers, from whom the soloists come) take their collective name from Marguerite Louise Couperin (d.1728). She was a cousin of the great organist and composer, and was widely acclaimed as a soprano in the early years of the 18th Century. The ensemble has already made several recordings in this Versailles series.


This particular program does not attempt to recreate an actual Mass at the Versailles Chapel, but rather samples the possible contents of both the “low” and “high” rites as they would have unfolded in the chapel regular activities, from the three greatest composers whose music would have been involved. Thus, as examples of the low Mass, we are given a “petite motet” by François Couperin, plus short organ pieces by that composer and Jean-Adam Guilain, as well as a chant Communio (for a Mass in honor of St Louis IX). Representing the high Mass, we have the two major works here, the “grand motets” Exaudiat te Dominus by Jean-Baptiste Lully and Exaltabo te Domine by Michel-Richard de Lalande, both settings of Psalms. Befitting the Sun King’s devotion to art and grandeur, the selections here are all of great musical excellence, and the performers have this style in their blood. Only at the very end does a burst of enthusiastic applause show that this program was recorded in public performance. For all that, the sound is superb. The groups are miked at just the right distance and captured in extraordinary vividness. Noteworthy, too, is the organ sound, which conveys well the tangy contrasts in the registration.

Extensive notes, with full texts and translations. A tasty French Baroque feast.

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