La guerre des Te Deum

Floral design

Blanchard – Colin de Blamont
[Michiko Takahashi, Carline Arnaud, Sebastien Monti, Romain Champion, Cyril Costanzo], Chœur Marguerite Louise, Ensemble Stradivaria, Daniel Cuiller
66:38
Château de Versailles Spectacles CVS007

To the much-documented ‘opera wars’ of early 18th-century Paris we can now add not-so-much a war, more a squabble between composers over whose Te Deum should be played to mark which royal event! I must say I would have loved to have seen Blamont attempting to replace Blanchard’s music, already on the music stands, with his own, even as the Queen was taking her seat! The booklet (French & English) tells this story well (if in rather lumpy English) though says nothing about the music itself. These composers were both slightly younger contemporaries of Rameau, but very much in the Versailles tradition of ceremonial sacred music. So we have trumpet-led grandeur, some deft choral counterpoint and graceful writing for smaller forces. I couldn’t find any information about the recording circumstances, though a few minor untidinesses suggest ‘live’. But the lack of intrusive vibrato is welcome.

David Hansell