La Semaine mystique - Chants de dévotion du règne de Louis XIII

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A study of seventeenth-century devotional songs inevitably implies a study of the individual at that time. Witnessing contrary movements that he did not always understand, beset by radical questionings on the subjects of belief and ethics, 'Baroque man' was faced with the same choices that face us today: choices between innovation and tradition, science and religion, the group and the individual, and so on; the examples are endless. A prayer set to music, the spiritual parody is a perfect embodiment of such conflicts: singing, as a source of elevation as much as of sensual pleasure, can make the soul of the sinner, like a fragile funambulist, topple this way or that, towards salvation on the one side or damnation on the other. The Jesuits, who were spiritual directors to many staunch believers among the aristocracy, had no qualms in using the sensual pleasures of the arts as instruments of salvation. To structure this recording we therefore used the method recommended by the Jesuit Philippe d'Angoumois in his Occupation continuelle en laquelle l'ame devote s'unit toujours avecque Dieu, a treatise written in 1618 for the use of ladies of the aristocracy. In this work he advises them to meditate each day of the week on a religious subject, in order to include the mysteries of spirituality in their daily routine. After a short catechism intended for children and a severe condemnation of the lewd song, our programme follows that path, with prayers on different themes for each day, thus creating an imaginary spiritual progression, as the soul seeks its salvation. In this 'mystical week', the soul moves from meditation on its sins (Monday) to contemplation of the glories of paradise (Sunday), from the fractures of the heart to inner healing, from primal Chaos to the Harmony of the spheres. The soul aims to create a bastion of Faith in order to resist the destructive forces of a century beset by strife. Recorded 10-13 December, Chapel of Notre-Dame de Bon Secours, Paris Recording and editing: Alessandra GALLERON Artistic direction: Thomas LECONTE

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: ALPHA103

  • UPC: 3760014191039

  • Label: Alpha

  • Composer: Antoine Boësset, Étienne Moulinié, Giovanni Gastoldi, Guillaume Marc, Jean Auvray, Jean de la Ceppède, Lazare de Selve, Pierre Guédron, Robert Ballard

  • Conductor: Marco Horvat

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Ensemble Faenza