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  • Charpentier: David & Jonathas
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Charpentier: David & Jonathas Import

9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, April 14, 1998
$69.29 $14.95

Editorial Reviews

Lully may have had a monopoly on the performance of actual opera in France, but David et Jonathas is effectively a sacred opera composed for performance at Jesuit colleges. The work is comprised mostly of arias and choruses; what recitative there is is unusually dramatic--especially in Saul's confrontation with David and his visit to the Witch of Endor to summon the ghost of Samuel. (Dominique Visse as the Witch deserves special mention for a convincing performance in a role that could easily descend into camp.) William Christie's choir and orchestra perform with all the expertise you'd expect; Monique Zanetti makes a rather feminine Jonathan but sings beautifully. In the role of David, the sensitive and heroic countertenor voice of Gérard Lesne is extraordinary. --Matthew Westphal

Disc: 1
1. Prologue, Ov - Les Arts Florissants/William Christie
2. Prologue, Scene 1: Saul: 'Ou Suis-Je? Qu'ai-je Fait?' - Jean-Francois Gardeil
3. Prologue, Scene 2: Saul: 'Dois-je Enfin Eprouver Le Secours De Vos Charmes?' - Jean-Francois Gardeil
4. Prologue, Scene 3: La Pythonisse: 'Retirez-Vous Affreux Tonnerre' - Dominique Visse
5. Prologue, Scene 4: L' Ombre: 'Quelle Importune Voix Vient Troubler Mon Repos?' - Berrnard Deletre
6. Prologue, Scene 5: Saul: 'C'est Assez? Ai-je Enfin Epuise Ta Colere?' - Jean-Francois Gardeil
7. Act I, Marche Triomphante - Les Arts Florissants/William Christie
8. Act I, Scene 1: Un Guerrier: 'Du Plus Grand Des Heros Publions Les Exploits' - Romain Bischoff
9. Act I, Scene 2: David: 'Allez, Le Ciel Jaloux Attend Un Legitime Hommage.' - Gerard Lesne
10. Act I, Scene 3: David: 'Ciel! Quel triste Combat En Ces Lieux Me Rappelle?' - Gerard Lesne
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Act III, Sym D'Ov - Les Arts Florissants/William Christie
2. Act III, Scene 1: Saul: 'Ah! Je Dois Assurer Et Ma Vie Et L'Empire.' - Jean-Francois Gardeil
3. Act III, Scene 2: Saul: 'Objet D'Une Implacable Haine' - Jean-Francois Gardeil
4. Act III, Scene 3: Jonathas: 'David Peut-il Attendre Un Retour Favorable?' - Monique Zanetti
5. Act III, Gigue - Les Arts Florissants/William Christie
6. Act IV, Prld - Les Arts Florissants/William Christie
7. Act IV, Scene 1: David: 'Souverain Juge Des Mortels' - Gerard Lesne
8. Act IV, Scene 2: Jonathas: 'Vous Me Fuyez' - Monique Zanetti
9. Act IV, Scene 3: Jonathas: 'A-T-On Jamais Souffert Une Plus Rude Peine?' - Monique Zanetti
10. Act IV, Scene 4: Saul: 'Venez, Seigneur, Venez; Saul Va Vous Attendre' - Jean-Francois Gardeil
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Performer: Gérard Lesne, Monique Zanetti, Les Arts Florissants, Jean-Francois Gardeil, Dominique Visse, et al.
  • Conductor: William Christie
  • Composer: Marc-Antoine Charpentier
  • Audio CD (April 14, 1998)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B000005Z3O
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,043 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on February 13, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
... the voices of devotion emerge somberly, and as the candles are extinguished, the mood of Holy Week - passionate sorrow tinged with adoration - thrills the devout. Charpentier's Leçons de Ténèbres are profoundly devotional, sincerely religious, perhaps even more spiritual than the Tenebrae music of Gesualdo or Victoria.

Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704) is best known to modern audiences for his Christmas music. After all, "Christmas" concerts sell. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, however, Christmas was a less significant celebration than Easter and its preceding days of Holy Week. Likewise, Passion music was more elaborate, more intense, more varied, more profound. To my ears, the two sacred "offices" recorded here - for Maundy Thursday and for Good Friday - are the pinnacles of Charpentier's art.

Tenebrae services usually included plainchant, soft instrumental preludes, and oratorio-like 'lessons' in the stile concertato featuring declamatory solo singing. That's the format of these two CDs. Il Seminario Musicale performs the plainchant in the manner of Charpentier's era, complete with French pronunciation of Latin and with more musical delicacy than the monastic chanters of our times. The 'soft' instruments are gambas and recorders, played with Gallic piquancy. The highlight of the recording, however, is the singing of sopranos Sandrine Piau and Agnès Mellon, and male alto Gerard Lesne, who has never sung more archangelically. Tenor Ian Honeyman sings well - quite well - but whenever Lesne takes over, the music swells in expressivity. Recorded in the early '90s, released separately and now re-released together, these two CDs are my choice for the best Charpentier and the best Tenebrae music available. I'm not a believer in the Christian mysteries but, listening to this sublime music, I begin to feel that the 'lessons' of Tenebrae are of more value than the rollicking commercialism of Christmas.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Richford on October 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is one of those rare CD productions for which even Amazon's top evaluation of five stars seems stingy, for it achieves a level of 'perfection' (if such a thing is possible in such a subjective area as music) that merits distinction above and beyond the praise one would normally lavish on a successful recording. Let me try and justify this remark with some facts: Firstly, there is Charpentier's music. Over the last 30 years or so, there has been a revival of Baroque music which has gone hand in hand with the re-discovery of certain composers who had almost been forgotten. One of these was Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643 - 1704), second in the 17th century French pecking order only to Lully. Charpentier's prolific output for the stage has been made known to a wider public chiefly through the efforts of William Christie. His sacred music has been slower to find interpreters, but first progress was made by René Jacobs and Philippe Herreweghe with recordings of motets. The 'Leçons de ténèbres' were written for Holy Week, there being in Catholic France a tradition of reading or singing passages from the Lamentations of Jeremiah on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before Easter. The most famous 'Leçons' were by Michel Lambert and François Couperin, but Charpentier, too, wrote quite a large amount of music for the services associated with these readings (which were sung not only by monks and nuns, but also by opera singers). Charpentier's miniatures are based on the original Gregorian melodies but combined with the Italianate style for which he was famed, the scores being carefully marked to show the singers how to perform the elaborate vocal decorations of the numerous melismas.Read more ›
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Corrado Speranza on December 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This recording offers a great performance of a beautiful Charpentier opera. William Christie and Les Arts Florissant are specialized in this type of music: in general the French Style in the 18th century is lacking in feelings but David & Jonathas is an exception. For example you will find a very touching scene in the fifth act, when Jonathan dies in the arms of David. The combination of soloists and chorus gives variety to this opera; the music is sweet and gives a religious atmosphere to it, so you can mistake it for an oratorio. Buy it ! All the singers are very good and the two cds are very inexpensive !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 9, 2012
Format: Audio CD
There are many reasons for discovering works of music not noticed until a certain singer or musician call it to our attention. In this case the rising importance of Irish French baritone Edwin Crossley-Mercer both as a musician of tremendous technical skill on the recital stage as well as being among the group of eye candy performers that the website Barihunks features resulted in finding this most amazing recording to this listener's attention. Though the star of this recording is Gérard Lesne who both sings and conducts the Seminario Musicale, the reason for paying close consideration is the repertoire that likely is unknown to most everyone.

Stephen Eddins programs notes are as fine as anyone could write and they are shared here: `Marc-Antoine Charpentier's (1643-1704) deeply soulful vocal works are among the most immediately appealing pieces of the middle Baroque. He had a gift for grateful, lyrical vocal writing that's expressively expansive and avoids the patterned clichés that sometimes hobble music of that era. This collection features a variety of works, including songs, a cantata, and a short opera-like scene in the form of a motet, Epithalium Carpenterij, that's quite unlike anything else in the musical repertoire. It's a wickedly funny tombeau, or musical memorial tribute, which Charpentier writes in his own honor. Casting himself as a Shade wandering the earth after his death, he alternates passages of genuine religious devotion with diatribes against his rival, François Chaperon; the Shade and his companions end the piece singing "Blessed is he who, to wash away his sins, listens patiently to the asinine dissonances of Chaperon, for after death he will taste the joys of eternal life and drink the nectar of the concert of angels....
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