Camerata at the Onassis Cultural Center : Christmas in the Paris of the Sun King
23 December 2014
20:30 Main Stage / Onassis Cultural Centre
Te Deum (H. 146)
Te Deum (LWV 55)
The magnificence of the music of Versailles owes a great deal to two masterpieces: the Te Deum motets by the two leading composers of Louis IV’s reign: the King’s favourite, Jean-Baptiste Lully, an Italian-born composer who Gallicized his name, and the Frenchman Marc-Antoine Charpentier, who received an Italian musical upbringing. Their motets are two of the most beautiful religious works in the French baroque repertoire. Celebratory works written for events of great importance, both Te Deums hymn the power of God (and, of course, the King) with true magnificence.
Lully wrote his Te Deum in 1677. The Sun King (as Louis was known) was so enthused with the work that he asked for it to be played again in its entirety on the spot! However, the work would be the death of its creator: in 1687, while attempting to coordinate the efforts of the gargantuan 150-piece orchestra the work calls for, Lully would strike himself -and his big toe- a mortal blow with his court conductor’s baton —the wound turned gangrenous and the composer died.
Charpentier composed the second Te Deum in 1692. This wonderful work was forgotten for centuries before being reinstated in the repertoire in 1953. Its introduction would become world famous the following year when it was chosen to accompany the Europe-wide broadcasts of the Eurovision Song Contest!
Camerata (on period instruments)
Conducted by George Petrou
Myrsini Margariti: soprano
Vassia Zacharopoulou: soprano
Vasilis Kavagias: tenor
Christos Kechris: tenor
Stavros Nikolaou: baritone
City of Athens Mixed Choir