, January 2009
The Canticum Zachariae dates from 1687, and its lovely six-part Benedictus shows Charpentier in characteristically fluent lyrical and contrapuntal form. The four-part Mass—the first of the composer’s eleven settings—which opens simply, extends to six voices in the Sanctus, with the spirited Hosanna extended to double choir. But it is the short Agnus Dei, serenely beautiful, that haunts the memory.
The Te Deum was the composer’s last setting, written not too long before his death. If without the instrumental spectacle of his most famous setting, it is supremely confident in its variety of style, superbly written, ending exultantly. The performances here are splendid, not inflated, but in every way satisfying. The recording is excellent and there is full documentation.