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Lindsay Kemp
Gramophone, August 2000

"This is the fourth volume of Charpentier sacred music to have come from Le Concert Spirituel, and appears after a time gap which should leave no one in doubt that they cannot, just cannot, be considering recording the lot. Never mind, though, we should certainly be thankful enough that in this selection of Marian motets and an 'Easter song' for voices and instruments they have included only one work currently available elsewhere, and that that is the fine Litanies a la Vierge, H83. A 17-minute catalogue of the Holy Lady's virtues liberally interspersed with heartfelt pleas for intercession, it shows Charpentier in inspired form, setting fervent but dignified expressions of joy alongside suitably gorgeous and reverential expositions of her mystical qualities. There are enjoyable details as well, including an echoingly repetitive setting of the words 'speculum justitiae'- mirror of justice. Highlights among the other pieces include the four well-crafted and contrasted antiennes (antiphons), a jaunty Magnificat, an attractive dialogue between men and angels (Pro omnibus festis), and the Easter motet in which news of the Resurrection spreads through the music with all the excited clamour of a swift-flying rumour."

William J. Gatens
American Record Guide, August 2000

"Charpentier here offers elegant and intimate music that ranges from the delicate to the exuberant, the lyrical, and the dramatic.

"Most if not all of these pieces were probably written for the musical establishment of the Duchess of Guise, who was Charpentiers patron from 1670 until her death in 1688. The performing forces on this recording consist of five singes, two obligato violins and a continuo ensemble with theorbos the most prominent harmony instruments. While some of he music could conceivably be performed with larger forces, the chamber-like scale of these readings suites the character of the music admirably. Both texts and music suggest private household devotion rather than public liturgy. Texts range from the traditional seasonal Marian Antiphons to anonymous Latin devotional poetry of the Counter-Reformation. ...

"This is in every way a worthy successor to the earlier releases in the series."

Edward Corp
International Record Review, May 2000

"Herve Niquet and his ensemble, Le Concert Spirituel, are generally agreed to rank among the very finest exponents of French Baroque music. It was therefore an inspired choice when Naxos engaged them to record a series exploring the sacred music of Marc-Antoine Charpentier. This new disc is a worthy successor to the three previous releases and, like them, contains a mixed programme of motets and other liturgical works. The connecting theme for this volume is devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, though the mood changes at the end with a festive Chant joyeux du temps de Paques.Niquet is an ideal interpreter of this repertory, and his thoroughly idiomatic performances allow the two soprano voices in particular to be heard to maximum effect."

Jean Gallois
Musique religieuses, April 2000

Voilà un travail sérieux et couronné de succès auquel on est heureux de rendre hommage."

"We have here a serious work and crowned with success of which we are pleased to recommend."

"We have here a serious work and crowned with success of which we are pleased to recommend."

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