Messe de Minuit - Ensemble Correspondances

Seine musicale (Boulogne-Billancourt, France)

December 1, 2022


If Charpentier found his way to posterity with the first notes of his Te Deum H.146, chosen to illustrate the credits of the Eurovision programmes in the 1950s, the Messe de Minuit is probably the second work that has made him known throughout the world. It is an invitation to immerse oneself in a musical world where the learned and popular traditions are not opposed, quite the contrary: all of Charpentier's art and science are illustrated in this invitation to these carols within a mass composed for Christmas Eve. These melodies are known to all, peasants and gentlemen alike, who recognise them, interwoven within a subtle counterpoint and a renewed harmony. The pleasure of music is offered to everyone: to recognize a known tune, or to grasp its extraordinary arrangement. The simplicity of the original chants also gives the whole mass a candour and simplicity that is not without depth when one considers that it spoke universally at the time.

The In nativitatem H.416 serves as a vigil before the midnight mass: in the manner of Charpentier's great sacred stories, the work recounts the story of the Nativity, in which the Angel Gabriel announces to the shepherds the great news of Christ's birth.

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