CD Requiem pour Louis XVI


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Hervé Niquet and the Concert Spirituel recreate with musical and historical accuracy the fervor and brilliance of this Requiem given at the time of the Restauration. To the ears, the reminiscences of a world then in retreat are given, like a last Adieu of a King and a Queen to their people.

When it comes to his illustration of music at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, Martini had more to show than Plaisir d’Amour alone. The Bavarian, would rise to glory at the French court and enjoy a privileged position among the sovereigns. Appointed Superintendent of the King’s Music in 1788, he fled France under the Terror before making a triumphant return to Paris with his opera Sapho, joined the Conservatoire in 1796, distanced himself from the stage and, finally, was reinstated as Superintendent in 1815. That same year, in Saint-Denis, he had the honour of hosting his Requiem Mass with a full orchestra, on 21 January 1815, when the remains of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were transferred to the Royal Basilica. This Requiem in memory of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette was performed once again one year after, to mark the anniversary of the martyr King. However, this spectacular piece, written for three soloists, a full orchestra and choir, seems to date from 1811 and bears the musical accents of the Empire – fitting for a celebration of the monarchy! Hervé Niquet gives to this highly symbolic work of the history of France and Versailles, a resurrection that brings Martini back into the spotlight of the last monarchic splendour.

Recorded from May 28 to July 1st, 2019 at the Royal Chapel of Versailles.