Louis XIV was a monarch who inspired some of the greatest musicians around to work in his court and amongst the greatness of Lully et al, Hyperion has resurrected a comparatively unknown figure in the shape of De Lalande whose music is certainly top-drawer quality.
The opening 'Te Deum laudamus' is a celebratory piece full of the necessary pomp and circumstance of the time whilst also opting for some intrinsically quieter moments. The nineteen part score is awash with magnificent melodies, pensive beauty and some outstanding exercises in counterpoint and fugue, obviously relished by Skidmore and his Ex Cathedra forces. 'Venite exultemus' is similarly large in scale with enough noise and bluster to rouse an army, this style I find quite exquisitely inimitable! The two grand works are interspersed with some exquisite chamber music with Rachel Brown particularly persuasive in the soft coloured 'Panis Angelicus'.
I had recently been listening to the AliaVox release dedicated to Louis XIII and this issue is certainly a fine complement to that highly commendable CD. As is usual with Hyperion, the sound is first rate whilst presentation is similarly top-notch.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech