CLÉRAMBAULT: Motets for the Royal House of Saint-Louis
Les Damoiselles de Saint-Cyr/Sylvia Moquet, bass viol/Emanuel Mandrin, organ/cond.
VIRGIN VERITAS 61529 (M) (DDD) TT: 68:56 

 (THIS CD IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE)

Versailles Palace was long a showcase for dance, drama and music during the 17th and 18th Centuries. Sadly, much of the music has been lost or remains hidden in musty libraries. Thanks to efforts by the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, with support from Radio France, a few re-discovered gems are gradually making their way onto CDs including some interesting chants and motets by Nicolas Clérambault (1676-1749).

This new CD contains works for treble voices composed when Clérambault was organist and music master at a girls school, Saint-Cyr, and, with the exception of the opening "Miserere," were intended as service music for the major feast days of the church year. Clérambault's musical vocabulary consisting of chants, embellishments, gentle dissonances, and solos is blended in imaginative ways. Especially noteworthy is "Factum est silentium" (a motet for the feast of St. Michael) which features the archangel and devil battling on accented and unaccented beats. Throughout, performances by the nine-voiced Les Demoiselles de Saint-Cyr with either organ or continuo (positive organ and bass viol) are impressive under Emmanuel Mandrin's solid direction. Recommended.

K.S.