Passiontide: Holy Week In The Courts Of Europe

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Featuring Apollo Baroque Consort, Chris Fitzgerald-Lombard and Joe Waggott.

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About this release

Rediscover Passiontide through exquisite vocal motets from master composers of the Baroque era. Bringing together three beautiful Passiontide works for tenor soloist and small ensemble, this recording revisits some of the most outstanding, but little performed repertoire of the Baroque in powerful performances from talented musicians of Birmingham Conservatoire.

Commissioned Programme Note

Miserere à Voix Seule – Michel Richard de Lalande

Michel Richard de Lalande (born 15th December, 1657) composed much of the repertoire that crowns the French Baroque era. He was a singer, violinist, organist and harpsichordist though, after being refused a place in Lully’s orchestra, he vowed never to play the violin again. Lalande was the favourite of King Louis XIV; initially appointed as one of the four composers responsible for court music, but as each one retired he was allowed to take over each of their duties until, in 1709, he became the sole composer at the court. The King instructed his court copyists to copy out all his Grand Motets for use in the chapel at Versailles and Lalande is particularly known for these works, of which (among others) ‘De Profundis’ is particularly well known and admired. As proof of their quality they continued to be performed after his death in 1726. This was in no small part down to the very expensive production of a new edition (unheard of for a composer no longer living) in 1729. Despite the success of these motets, his Petits Motets still remain, largely, unknown. The piece recorded on this CD, Miserere à Voix Seule, is possibly the finest example of such a composition. Lalande married singer Anne Rebel in 1684 and their two daughters were both supported, at court, by Louis. Both died of smallpox in 1711 and the King held a memorial service the following year in their honour. After Louis XIV died in 1715, Lalande began to transfer his court duties to his students, eventually requesting that his salary be decreased and that the chapel return to the four composer arrangement of previous years. In 1722, Lalande’s wife died though he remarried in 1723 and had another daughter. Three years later, in 1726, he succumbed to pneumonia and died, leaving some of the finest choral and orchestral music ever written. Read more