Online study of the Messe de Minuit
With the choir Canti Corum
is currently conducting online rehearsals of the Messe de Minuit
by Marc-Antoine Charpentier
The Messe de minuit H.9 is perhaps one of the most original of Charpentier’s compositions and one of the eleven Masses written by the composer for Christmas Eve. The work was probably composed in 1690, or maybe a little later. It belongs, however, to a body of works that Charpentier wrote for the Jesuits of the Saint Louis Church.
The profound originality of the Messe de minuit lies in the unprecedented decision to include popular Christmas pieces: the noëls. This consists of popular compositions in fashion between the 17th and 18th Centuries, whose performance during the Mass was not permitted. Whereas, in Charpentier’s time the insertion of these pieces in instrumental compositions was generally accepted as evidenced in pieces such as Lalande’s Symphonies des Noël, the Noëls sur les instruments by Charpentier himself and, not least, the varied form of the noëls.
In particular, Charpentier used a good eleven carols in his Messe de minuit H.9 compostion, adding vitality to a profound relationship between sacred and popular art.