Charpentier: Christmas Pastorale
Christmas was central to religious life in 18th century France and celebrated with great fervor, also deeply rooted in popular traditions (going back to the pagan cults that preceded it). This program will present a succession of works evoking Nativity by Marc-Antoine Charpentier at the height of his inspiration, where his art of composition goes hand in hand with exceptional fervor and sensuality.
Most of these pieces have been composed at the Hotel de Guise, where Charpentier was the official composer. The musicians were the maids and valets but none had an exceptional musical talent: still all witnesses of the time recall that Mademoiselle de Guise’s music was one of the best in Paris. These unique Christmas pastorals marked a particular time of the year bringing together all these musicians, Charpentier, their benefactress, the men of letters who were her regular visitors and all the extended Guise family and entourage: a time of infinite, simple and benign grace, quite at the opposite of the gilded splendor of Versailles.
Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704)