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Charpentier: Leçons de ténèbres


  • Saturday April 1st 2023
  • Royal Chapel
  • 8pm | 1h10 without intermission
Homepage Charpentier: Leçons de ténèbres 2023


Daniel Brant Countertenor

Clément Debieuvre Countertenor

Bastien Rimondi Countertenor

Martin Candela Tenor

Edouard Hazebrouck Tenor

Nicholas Scott Tenor

Igor Bouin Bass

Cyril Costanzo Bass

Alex Rosen Bass

Pierre Virly Bass

Les Arts Florissants

William Christie Conductor



Marc-Antoine Charpentier left a gigantic musical legacy: no less than five hundred and fifty works, mostly composed for the church. But it would be wrong to see him as an austere devotee; on the contrary, his palette of infinitely varied colors and textures gives his music a theatrical expressiveness, even in his pieces most strictly reserved for Catholic liturgy. It is not surprising, then, that he devoted such a significant part of his work to the most dramatic event for any man of the 17th century: the narrative of Holy Week, the Passion, and the Resurrection of Christ.

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Following the Nativity, William Christie and Les Arts Florissants continue their exploration of Charpentier’s sacred repertoire, this time focusing on pieces composed for another essential celebration (if not the most essential) of the Catholic liturgy. They also revisit some of their favorite works in this program, which highlights one of the composer’s most astonishing series: the Leçons de Ténèbres. Named after the conditions in which they were performed (the candles were extinguished during their execution), these pieces sensitively unfold a unique musical language to evoke the lamentations of Jeremiah, blending Gregorian influences with elaborate melismas.

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Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643 – 1704)

Méditations pour le Carème H.380-389

Troisième Leçon de Ténèbres du Jeudi Saint H.124

Second répons après la seconde leçon du second nocturne du jeudi saint H.129

Troisième leçon de Ténèbres du Vendredi saint H.137

The Royal Chapel of the Château de Versailles

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