HENRY DESMAREST Grands Motets, II
Le Concert Spirituel Hervé Niquet
Le Concert SpirituelHervé Niquet,director
Hanna Bayodi, dessus, soprano Stéphanie Révidat, dessus, soprano François-Nicolas Geslot, haute-contre, tenor Sébastien Droy, taille, tenor Benoît Arnould, basse-taille, baritone Alice Piérot, premier violon, concertmaster
Playing time: 56'21 Recorded at IRCAM, Paris, in December 2004 Engineered by Manuel Mohino Produced by Dominique Daigremont Executive producer: Carlos Céster Design by 00:03:00 oficina tresminutos Booklet essay by Jean Duron (Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles) and Jérémie Papasergio Booklet in Français - English - Español - Deutsch
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HENRY DESMAREST (1661-1741)
Grands Motets, vol. II (Éditions du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles)
1-10 De Profundis (psaume 129) 11-17 Veni Creator (hymne pour la fête de la Pentecôte) 18-26 Cum Invocarem (psaume 4)
About this CD
Over the years, Hervé Niquet has become one of the undisputed masters of the French grand motet. Where others built their career on Bach's cantatas, he chose to explore this noble and refined genre in great detail: Lully, Colasse, Charpentier, Campra, Lalande, Lorenzani, Boismortier, Rameau and, of course, Desmarest - all the composers who brought glory to the French court in the past and who contributed to the great reputation that the sacred art of the Grand Siècle enjoys to this day. Here we have Hervé Niquet with three unpublished grand motets by the still-young Henry Desmarest (he was born in 1661), only a few years after he stopped working as a page at the Royal Chapel. A favourite of the King, the Dauphin and the entire court, he was presented as the worthiest successor to Lully. However, Desmarest was one of the first cases in history of a 'ghost writer'; between 1683 and 1693, he composed a significant number of works which were then signed by Nicolas Goupillet, one of Louis XIV's vice-chapelmasters at Versailles, among them the three motets included on this CD.
These three grand motets are very fresh musical moments, where Desmarest highlighted his personal carte du tendre at leisure, as well as his taste for the learned and bracing counterpoint with its five subtly arranged parts. He played with the new vocal and instrumental possibilities created for the chapel built in 1682, with its colourful masses which contrast, sparkle and exalt the sound. These three works magnificently display the music in the new Versailles, almost as if they were veritable snapshots: elegant, refined, unfurling in space with gravity and majesty.
An additional issue of great interest is the 'presentation in society' of the cromorne, a mysterious instrument of the oboe family which was especially reconstructed for this occasion: listen to its powerful bass sound in the choir parts of the De profundis, the opening motet.
Hervé Niquet is far less interested in being known as a Baroque music specialist than for his passionate interest in all of French music, especially its vocal and lyrical compositions and nowadays he is as liable to be found directing a symphony orchestra as his own period instrument ensemble Le Concert Spirituel. It may come, for some, as a surprise to find Niquet teaming up with the Brussels Philharmonic to record Debussy but this future release will mark the inauguration of a new adventure for Niquet and Glossa focusing on the music associated with the Prix de Rome competition which drew in scores of leading French composers all the way from 1803 through 1968. [read more...]
Taking a leading role in the revival of tragédies lyriques (or tragédies en musique), the best of the French Baroque opera tradition, is a long, daunting (and expensive) challenge but one which Hervé Niquet has been keen to accept. Present as a singer in the chorus of Les Arts Florissants in 1987 when William Christie put on Lully’s Atys, Niquet formed his own ensemble, Le Concert Spirituel that same year. Since that time he has balanced his own endeavours to stage (and record) key French tragédies with his other musical interests, which extend from Monteverdi to Purcell and Handel (soon to be reissued – now on SACD – is Niquet’s recording of the Fireworks and Water Music suites) right the way through to later composers such as Schumann, Gounod and d’Indy.[read more...]