Les Funérailles Royales de Louis XIV


Les Funérailles Royales de Louis XIV concert (The Royal Funerals of Louis XIV) performed November, 2015 at the Chapelle Royale in Versailles. Raphaël Pichon conducts the Ensemble Pygmalion. Features singers Céline Scheen (Soprano), Lucile Richardot (Mezzo-soprano), Samuel Boden (Countertenor), Marc Mauillon (Baritone), and Christian Immler (Baritone). Directed for TV by Stéphane Vérité. Released 2018. Grade: NA

For the 300th anniversary of the death of Louis XIV (the Sun King),  the Palace of Versailles staged a concert featuring French music likely played during the various funereal ceremonies conducted for the King. Here is the program:

  1. Lying in state: Jean Colin – Miserere, falso-bordone for 6 voices
  2. Funeral procession: André Danican Philidor - Drums and Funeral March for the King's Procession
  3. Office for the Dead: Michel-Richard de Lalande - De Profundis, Grand Motet
  4. Absoution & Burial: Jean Colin - Pie Jesu, plainsong and falso-bordone for 6 voices
  5. Fanfare: "Le Roy est mort ! Vive le Roy !"
  6. Funeral ceremony & first anniversary: Michel-Richard de Lalande -  Dies Irae, Grand Motet

David Vickers, writing in the April Gramophone at page 104, goes all out for this "conjectural fantasy [which] affords creative license for Pygmalion and Raphël Pichon to create a beguilingly dolorous musical experience. . . Pygmalion's elegantly sensual orchestral playing and choral singing are sensational from start to finish." Juith Malafronte also chimes in on page 51 of the August 2018 Opera News praising the grand motets by Lalande in which "Five vocal soloists, the cream of Europe's early-music singers, blend beautifully yet bring individuality and commitment to their various solos."

So this is apparently a most worthy program, but what kind of video can you make with little or no light?  Wonk Bryan Balmer is on this case, and we will have more to say eventually about the technical aspects of this recording soon.