Andre Campra, La Chapelle Royale, Philippe Herreweghe - Messe de Requiem

Published Thursday 23rd January 2014
Andre Campra, La Chapelle Royale, Philippe Herreweghe - Messe de Requiem
Andre Campra, La Chapelle Royale, Philippe Herreweghe  - Messe de Requiem

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Harmonia Mundi Gold HMG 501251

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

If this was the first Mass you ever heard you would, if you have any interest in and appreciation of choral music, enjoy it. The music is melodic, moving sure-footedly forward and reaching some emotional heights. The singing is excellent and there is much to appreciate. However if we consider Masses to be mountains then Everest is Bach's Mass in B Minor, others in the Himalayas include examples by Haydn, Mozart and Verdi - and Andre Campra (1660-1744) is an Eiger or a Matterhorn: very impressive in its context but not so special if compared to Everest. This comparison is, though, unfair as Campra deserves to be appreciated in his own context which would place him between Lully and Rameau which allows him to shine more brightly instead of being overshadowed by those like Haydn and Mozart who came after (and, to be fair, Campra almost certainly never heard Bach either). The music is French Baroque and was probably composed for use at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. This recording was first issued in 1987 and has long been well-regarded. Its re-issue at a bargain price allows many more to explore this overlooked composition and the Choir and Orchestra of La Chapelle Royale under Philippe Herreweghe give an excellent account.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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