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Brian Wilson Download Roundup
MusicWeb International, December 2011

CHARPENTIER, M.-A.: Messe de Minuit pour Noel / Te Deum (Aradia Ensemble, Mallon) 8.557229
CHARPENTIER, M.-A.: Noels and Christmas Motets, Vol. 1 (Aradia Ensemble, Mallon) 8.554514
CHARPENTIER, M.-A.: Noels and Christmas Motets, Vol. 2 (Aradia Ensemble, Mallon) 8.557036

The first album listed above offers stylish, period-aware performances of the Midnight Mass and the best known of Charpentier’s Te Deums and that’s probably the place to start if you have yet to make the serious acquaintance of this composer. The mp3 recording is fine apart from a couple of small blips at the start of tracks. Then you can turn to the other two albums where you’ll recognise many of the Noëls which he borrowed, in slightly less elaborate but still very enjoyable settings.

The music is performed at baroque pitch. All the singing is deliciously clear-toned and forthright, the accompaniments on period instruments are stylish and the whole is enthusiastically presented. © 2011 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Penguin Guide, January 2009

Here is a natural and equally beguiling follow-up to the Aradia Ensemble’s first Naxos collection of Christmas music, including Noëls. The two cantatas both use the same text from St Luke, telling of the angel’s dialogue with the shepherds. Each then creates a nocturnal atmosphere, followed by the shepherds’ joyful ‘awakening’, devotion and exultation. The innocence of the pastoral scene is richly conveyed in Charpentier’s simple but inspired settings. The three versions of the Noël (the first for soloists and organ, the second for choir, the third instrumental) act as prelude, intermezzo and postlude in the most effective way, so that the concert makes a perfect whole. Singing, playing and recording are of high quality and so is the documentation.

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