Arriving for review just a bit late for Christmas gifting, the Midnight Mass for Christmas Eve is a lovely liturgical work for the season which will appeal to those of French background and anyone into the less hackneyed Christmas carols. Charpentier employed in his work for Christmas of 1694 ten popular French carols of the time. One of them – the Huron Carol – is sung in the original Huron Indian language. There are ten vocal soloists involved, plus a four-part chorus. There is more variety of sound and mood than most masses, and the excellent surround recording – made in a Toronto church – adds to the appropriate feeling of the music in its environment. The Te Deum has eight soloists and chorus. Charpentier’s heavy use of brass instruments and tympani gives the feeling of a very royal and grand event. The drums in this original-instruments ensemble are especially well-reproduced. The opening prelude of the Te Deum has become the theme of the European Broadcasting Union. Charpentier was second only to Lully in the French court and this SACD provides a fine grouping of three of his liturgical works for soloists, chorus and instrumental ensemble.
– John Sunier