Mondonville: Grands Motets – De profundis (1748); Magnus Dominus (1734); Nisi Dominus (1743); Cantate Domino (1743)

Reviewed on Tue 05 Jul, 2016

Of Mondonville's 18 Grands Motets only nine survive, four of which, from his middle years, are recorded here, Cantate Domino making its first appearance on disc.

A younger contemporary of Rameau, Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville (1711-72) enjoyed considerable success in his lifetime as a violinist with the Concert Spirituel, intendant with the Chapel Royal and as a notable composer of violin sonatas and sacred music. Of his 18 Grands Motets only nine survive, four of which, from Mondonville’s middle years, are recorded here, Cantate Domino making its first appearance on disc. Well heeled in the French Baroque, György Vashegyi’s effusive period-instrument Orfeo Orchestra and glowing Purcell Choir play its Handelian accents with all the gusto it merits. If Vashegyi’s controlled, well-mannered approach lacks the fervency of Christophe Coin and Ensemble Baroque de Limoges (Astrée Auvidis) and the crisp precision of William Christie and Les Arts Florissant (Erato), there is still much to enjoy in the serene melancholy of De Profundis, the glorious rhetoric of Magnus Dominus and graceful eloquence of Nisi Dominus, albeit choral forces and female soloists occasionally veer towards the unnecessarily emphatic.
–Michael Quinn