Concerto delle Donne

 

Review: Daily Telegraph 21/1/06

 

Marc-Antoine Charpentier: Music for the Virgin Mary

Concerto delle Donne

Signum Classics SIGCD073

 

Concerto delle Donne are performing a valuable service for those who relish the byways of Baroque music by exploiting little-known repertoires to which their three beautifully-matched soprano voices are uniquely well suited. In this case, the music was composed for fashionable Parisian convents, whose sung services were much frequented by devout noblewomen.

 

Simply scored for voices and organ, the pieces on this delightful disc display an engaging combination of tenderness and deeply felt devotional fervour, whether in the plain and undramatic Stabat mater, playful duets such as Sicut spina rosam and Gaude felix Anna, with their lilting triple-time passages in thirds, or the joyful alleluias of Regina coeli.

 

These shorter pieces are complemented by a miniature Christmas oratorio, Frigidae noctis, which tells the story of the angel and the shepherds with a nice mixture of awe and joyful excitement, and ends with a charming pastoral carol. The singers' delectably pure, sweet sound, rhythmic liveliness and stylish ornamentation perfectly capture the spirit of some beautiful and inventive music, ideally suited to its very specific purpose.

Elizabeth Roche