Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704) is a genius of spiritual music of Louis XIV’s time. He is an example of a perfect composer who was able to create profound compositions for various instruments. He was highly appreciated and recognized by his contemporaries and it distinguishes him among other talented colleagues of his time.
We might say that unlike Lully or Delalande, Marc-Antoine Charpentier was more fortunate, as he got a good education at the Jesuits and then spent several years in Rome, where he studied with Giacomo Carissimi, both a composer and a music teacher. This experience allowed Charpentier to learn secrets of the true Italian baroque that soon would make his own music so sophisticated with a bit of Italian air.
Having returned in France he got an appointment at Marie de Lorraine, Duchesse de Guise, for who he composed plenty of vocal works. In 1679 Charpentier became The Great Dauphin’s composer and for several years he wrote devotional pieces. Then he served as a maitre de musique for the Jesuits and was a teacher of a future Regent, Phillip, Duc de Chartres at that time. In 1698 Marc-Antoine was appointed for the Saint-Chapelle in Paris and it was his last post until his death in 1704. Unfortunately brilliant pieces of his music he made for this chapel were lost as they were confiscated by its administration right after his decease.
No matter what, abundance of various experience influenced Charpentier’s art very well. On one hand, he was a Royal composer, but on the other he kept a strong connection with the Church and it makes his masterpieces both pious and exquisite.
Vive le Roy! 🙂