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Alexis Kossenko - Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Leçons de ténèbres

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Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Leçons de ténèbres

Stephan MacLeod, Arte dei Suonatori, Alexis Kossenko

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The performances on this lovely album of vocal and instrumental music by Marc-Antoine Charpentier make it a recording that should delight the composer's fans and anyone who loves the music of the Baroque. Listeners should be warned that the packaging and even the composer's titles create expectations of music of a very different character from what is actually presented. The three Leçons de Ténèbres of the title, scored for bass and chamber orchestra, refer to baleful texts taken from the Lamentations of Jeremiah describing the fall and abasement of Jerusalem, and were written for services on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of Holy Week, the darkest days in the Christian liturgical calendar. Rather than emphasizing the texts' dire pronouncements of God's wrath, Charpentier's music expresses a gentle compassion for Jerusalem in music that's comfortingly benevolent, full of light rather than darkness. It's a brilliantly counterintuitive but legitimate take on the meaning of the texts. Charpentier was certainly capable expressing profound grief and wrote some of the most wrenching, anguished music of his era, but here he offers a message of hope and reassurance in the darkest season of the Church year. Much of the other music included in the album, all written for liturgical use, is also essentially positive, in major keys and with perky tempos. It complements the tone of the Leçons de Ténèbres, but hardly fulfills the expectations of the album's packaging, which features Caravaggio's dark painting of an emaciated St. Jerome next to a skull. Bass Stephan Macleod is resonant, agile, and warmly expressive in the Leçons and in a very odd unaccompanied motet, Pour plusieurs martyrs, whose music is hardly as somber as its title would imply. Alexis Kossenko, best known as a transverse flute virtuoso, leads the Polish Baroque chamber orchestra Arte dei Suonatori in supple, beautifully nuanced performances. The orchestral sound is sweet and mellow, thanks in part to the prominent use of recorders and transverse flutes and the warm but focused string tone. The sound is clean and present with an expansive cathedral-like ambience, marred only by too-close miking of the winds, which makes gulping intakes of air distractingly prominent.
© TiVo

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Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Leçons de ténèbres

Alexis Kossenko

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1
Offerte pour l'orgue et pour les violons flûtes et hautbois, H. 514
00:02:35

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

2
Antiene pour les violons flûtes et hautbois à 4 parties, H. 532
00:01:45

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

3
Symphonie en G Ré Sol Bémol à 3 flûtes ou 3 violons, H. 529
00:02:53

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

4
Ouverture pour le sacre d'un Evesque pour les violons flûtes et hautbois, H. 536
00:03:30

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

5
Après Confitebor, Antienne en D La Ré Sol Bsquarre, H. 516
00:02:29

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

6
Pour plusieurs martyrs, motet a voix seule sans accompagnement, H. 361
00:04:01

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

7
Pour un reposoir, ouverture dez que la procession paroist, H. 523
00:02:19

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

8
Ouverture pour le sacre d'un Evesque pour les violons flûtes et hautbois, H. 537
00:03:58

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

9
Offerte non encor exécutée, H. 522
00:03:03

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

10
Ouverture pour l'Eglise, H. 524
00:01:59

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

11
Antienne, H. 526
00:02:14

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

12
Pre leçon de ténèbres du Mercredy Saint pour une basse, H. 120
00:11:43

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

13
Pre leçon de ténèbres du Jeudy Saint pour une basse, H. 121
00:11:46

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

14
Première leçon de ténèbres du Vendredy Saint pour une basse, H. 122
00:11:14

Stephan MacLeod, Performer - Arte dei Suonatori, Performer - Alexis Kossenko, Performer - Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Composer

2012 Alpha Productions 2011 Alpha Productions

Album Description

The performances on this lovely album of vocal and instrumental music by Marc-Antoine Charpentier make it a recording that should delight the composer's fans and anyone who loves the music of the Baroque. Listeners should be warned that the packaging and even the composer's titles create expectations of music of a very different character from what is actually presented. The three Leçons de Ténèbres of the title, scored for bass and chamber orchestra, refer to baleful texts taken from the Lamentations of Jeremiah describing the fall and abasement of Jerusalem, and were written for services on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of Holy Week, the darkest days in the Christian liturgical calendar. Rather than emphasizing the texts' dire pronouncements of God's wrath, Charpentier's music expresses a gentle compassion for Jerusalem in music that's comfortingly benevolent, full of light rather than darkness. It's a brilliantly counterintuitive but legitimate take on the meaning of the texts. Charpentier was certainly capable expressing profound grief and wrote some of the most wrenching, anguished music of his era, but here he offers a message of hope and reassurance in the darkest season of the Church year. Much of the other music included in the album, all written for liturgical use, is also essentially positive, in major keys and with perky tempos. It complements the tone of the Leçons de Ténèbres, but hardly fulfills the expectations of the album's packaging, which features Caravaggio's dark painting of an emaciated St. Jerome next to a skull. Bass Stephan Macleod is resonant, agile, and warmly expressive in the Leçons and in a very odd unaccompanied motet, Pour plusieurs martyrs, whose music is hardly as somber as its title would imply. Alexis Kossenko, best known as a transverse flute virtuoso, leads the Polish Baroque chamber orchestra Arte dei Suonatori in supple, beautifully nuanced performances. The orchestral sound is sweet and mellow, thanks in part to the prominent use of recorders and transverse flutes and the warm but focused string tone. The sound is clean and present with an expansive cathedral-like ambience, marred only by too-close miking of the winds, which makes gulping intakes of air distractingly prominent.
© TiVo

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