Marc-Antoine Charpentier Nativity Pastorale
First Lutheran, Palo Alto
St. Mary Magdalen, Berkeley
St. Mark's Lutheran, San Francisco
Catherine Webster, soprano Jennifer Paulino, soprano Clara Rottsolk, soprano Clifton Massey, countertenor Paul Elliott, tenor Peter Becker, bass Vicki Boeckman, recorder Louise Carslake, recorder Rob Diggins, violin Jolianne von Einem, violin John Dornenburg, viola da gamba Jillon Stoppels Dupree, harpsichord
After our celebratory 20th Season, Magnificat's artistic director Warren Stewart is taking a sabbatical and pursuing research in Europe, but he returned in December 2012 to lead Magnificat in one of their most beloved programs, Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Nativity Pastorale. Written for the household of his patron Mademoiselle de Guise, the Pastorale sur la naissance de Nostre Seigneur is one of Charpentier's most brilliant and moving works with dialogues, ensembles, instrumental dances, and exquisite choral writing. The unifying force throughout is the composer's technical mastery and imagination and his extreme sensitivity to the poetic imagery, which often reflects the rich tradition of French Christmas carols, or noëls. Magnificat's program included Charpentier's settings of several of these noëls, that are, by turns, charming, poignant, and amusing.
Background by Nika Korniyenko using an image from Le Grand Bible des Noelz, f. 61 v, B. Rigaud, Lyon 1557.