A Holy Night

Marc-Antoine Charpentier


If Charpentier has achieved posterity with the first notes of his Te Deum H.146, chosen to illustrate the credits of the programmes of the Eurovision Song Contest in the 1950s, the Midnight Mass is probably the second piece which gave him his success among the world. It invites us to replunge ourselves in a musical world in which the savant and popular traditions are not opposed, quite the contrary: the whole art and science of Charpentier are illustrated in this invitation of these Christmas songs within a mass composed for the night of Christmas. These melodies are known by everyone, peasants as well as gentlemen, who recognise them, interlocked within a subtle counterpoint and a renewed harmony. The pleasure of the music is offered to everybody: recognising a famous melody or understanding its extraordinary irritation. The simplicity of the original songs gives also to the whole mass an innocence and a simplicity which in not superficial when we think that it spoke in a universal way back then.

The In nativitem H.416 acts as an eve before the Midnight mass: like the great sacred stories of Charpentier, the piece tells the story of Nativity where Angel Gabriel announces to the shepherds the great news of the Christ’s birth.


Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Sub tuum praesidium
Or nous dites Marie
Quam gloriosa dicta sunt de te
In nativitatem

Sébastien de Brossard
O Miraculum !

Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Messe de Minuit
Joseph est bien marié
Alma redemptoris
Laissez paître vos bêtes
Te Deum

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