With the publication of a practical edition and a widely distributed recording by King’s College Choir, Cambridge in the 1960s, Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s ‘Messe de minuit’ quickly became, and has remained, a staple of the Christmas repertoire. The score includes a pair of flutes — either recorders or transverse flutes. Those who know this famous piece, based on twelve immanently singable noels (ancient secular French Christmas carols), will doubtless enjoy these fanciful settings for SATB recorders. Charpentier has altered the tunes to suit his purposes, as have other composers who have set them. The present set is based primarily on the tunes as Charpentier presents them, although earlier, less elaborate versions were consulted. Overall, technical demands are modest. However, the soprano part does require facility in the upper range. A good feel for the French baroque style and ornamentation will bring these settings to life. Further notes are provided with the score. The accompanying recording is by The Prince Consort.
-- Anthony St. Pierre
This is a collection of 5 short pieces (2 pages each score) based on the music of Marc-Antoine Charpentier, complete with fun French Baroque ornaments and gestures. Each is in 4 parts, SATB, and the top line has some pretty high notes on occasion including B-flat, C and even D. The witty interplay of the parts in each of these make them a lot of fun and worth the effort to prepare. Aside from the high notes, none of these is particularly difficult for intermediate players. Dotted rhythms, some trills, and a bit of ensemble cohesion give this music something for everyone, especially the francophile on your list. Have a listen to the recording for a good sense of the character of each piece, and be sure to read the composer’s notes about them as well.