No other composer wrote more music for the celebration of Christmas than Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643-1704). He left us a number of Magnificats and motets of all magnitudes celebrating the Virgin and the infant Jesus, a few sacred stories relating the shepherds’ visit to the manger, and a famous Midnight Mass, drawing on the melodies of popular Christmas carols still sung today. Throughout, with writing both skilful and sensitive, he conveys the sentiment surrounding the magnificent mystery of all births. As for the Te Deum—a hymn of thanksgiving—, with its gleaming trumpets, it is perfectly suited to any festive occasion.
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