Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris / Henri Chalet - Pâques à Notre-Dame

Published Thursday 24th March 2022
Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris / Henri Chalet - Pâques à Notre-Dame
Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris / Henri Chalet - Pâques à Notre-Dame

STYLE: Classical
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Warner Classics

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Such a lot has happened of late that I confess the dreadful fire that swept through Notre-Dame in April 2019 had slipped my mind. This album of Easter music was due to be recorded in the cathedral but understandably had to be postponed. While the choir's director Henri Chalet says: 'We know that Notre-Dame will rise again,' this recording had to be made in the neo-Gothic Basilica of Sainte-Clotilde, also in Paris. The acoustic at Sainte-Clotilde is excellent and the audio quality of the recording is first class. The programme includes works by French, Italian and German composers, spanning six centuries of musical composition. Three of the works are by Yves Castagnet (born 1964), who was also the organist for the album, performing on an instrument by celebrated organ-builder Astride Cavaillé-Coll. The earliest music is by Claudio Monteverdi and his contemporary Hans Leo Hassler. The album also features works from the Baroque era ("Crucifixus" by Antonio Lotto), the 19th century ("Dextera Domini" by César Franck, former organist at Sainte-Clotilde), and the 20th (Maurice Duruflé and Jehan Revert). Two other contemporary works are also featured - Jean-Charles Gandrille's "Stabat Mater", and a numinous "Regina Caeli" by Lise Borel. And not forgetting our old friend Anonymous who contributes the charming "O filii et fillae". The Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris is a mixed voice choir directed by Henri Chalet and as the voice of one of the most famous buildings in Europe it needs to be good. The vocal blend is excellent and the selection of pieces both ancient and modern gives the choir every opportunity to shine. It is not quite what we expect when we hear an Anglican cathedral choir - and why should it be? - but nevertheless it is a very well sung selection of interesting and appropriate music to celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord.

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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