Marc Mauillon

Michel Lambert: Leçons de Ténèbres

  • AllMusic Rating
    6
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Michel Lambert was a court composer to King Louis XIV of France, and the father-in-law of Lully. He has been known, if at all, for his court airs setting common French poems of the day. He wrote two sets of Tenebrae Lessons, of which the one recorded here is the earlier. Reconstructing it sounds like a pretty speculative enterprise, which is probably why it hasn't been recorded before; contemporary descriptions mention a vocal trio, but here a single voice is used. The relationship between voice and accompaniment is also not clear, but two factors lend the music interest: the vocal ornaments are notated in great detail, and the piece was the first ensemble setting of Tenebrae Lessons in France and one of the earlier large-scale pieces in the Italian style, with dramatic settings of sacred texts over a continuo group. In short, this music was extremely influential, and nobody had recorded it before. It's also true that Charpentier and the other composers who wrote this kind of thing improved upon Lambert's pioneering effort; here you mostly get lengthy settings of the long Hebrew syllables of the Tenebrae Lessons, with similar settings of the texts in the same tempo and the same key. For many listeners, the effect will depend on how you feel about the baritone or "basse-taille" voice of Marc Mauillon, which is agile in the ornaments and may draw you in as the music develops. You might also find that it has a slightly nasal, oddly conversational tone that doesn't fit the music. Sampling will determine into which camp you fall, and the continuo group of viola da gamba, theorbo, and keyboards is sensitive in its interaction with the singer. Certainly of interest to fans of the early French Baroque, which has generally been underrepresented on recordings.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Leçons de Ténèbres des Mercredi, Jeudi et Vendredi saints Premier cycle, 1662-1663
1 2:35
2 2:39
3 2:18
4 2:07
5 2:52
6 2:00
7 2:04
8 2:11
9 1:31
10 1:29
11 1:05
12 1:38
13 2:19
14 1:29
15 1:39
16 1:37
17 1:46
18 1:56
Leçons de Ténèbres des Mercredi, Jeudi et Vendredi saints Premier cycle, 1662-1663
19 2:41
20 1:26
21 1:34
22 1:39
23 1:44
24 2:16
25 2:08
26 1:48
27 1:52
28 1:22
29 2:36
30 3:09
Leçons de Ténèbres des Mereredi, Jeudi et Vendredi saints Premier cycle, 1662-1663
31 2:45
Leçons de Ténèbres des Mercredi, Jeudi et Vendredi saints Premier cycle, 1662-1663
32 1:03

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:36
Leçons de Ténèbres des Mercredi, Jeudi et Vendredi saints Premier cycle, 1662-1663
2 4:20
3 3:13
4 2:36
5 0:51
6 2:04
7 1:46
8 2:00
9 1:53
10 1:39
11 1:31
12 1:00
13 2:38
Leçons de Ténèbres des Mercredi, Jeudi et Vendredi saints Premier cycle, 1662-1663
14 1:53
15 2:06
16 1:54
17 0:52
18 1:08
19 4:44
blue highlight denotes track pick