A treasure map is needed to find one’s way through this release. The CDs and DVD, exquisitely encased in a beautiful book – full of facsimiles, photographs and essays as well as vocal texts in innumerable translations – contain performances of some of the most beautifully crafted, deeply spiritual music Charpentier ever wrote. Catherine Cessac, the foremost French authority on Charpentier, writes eloquently on the music and Savall on the impetus for the collection. The repertoire, inspired by the story of the Virgin Mary, is drawn from all periods of Charpentier’s life and reflects the different private and public circumstances of his employment, the musical resources available to him and occasions for which he composed. In several cases more than one performance, each with different personnel, has been included, hence the need for a map.
Celebrating sixty years since the launch of one of the most successful independent record labels in US Popular music. Received wisdom would have us believe that before Motown, no black-owned record company had made a significant impact on the US mainstream. However, the actuality is something else entirely. Way back in the early 50s, long before Berry Gordy had written his first song, VEE-JAY RECORDS - a black, family owned and run, Chicago-based label - was establishing itself via a steady stream of Blues, R&B, DooWop and Gospel hits.