Via Paul Musgrave comes this highly recommended article about the current “golden age” of classical music. Heather MacDonald is spot on in her assessment of the state of classical music. As I read I was struck by the quality, quantity and depth of great, live orchestral, chamber and choral music easily accessible here in central Indiana. Aside from the big ones – the ISO or the students and ensembles at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University – there are fantastic early music ensembles, sacred music ensembles, jazz groups, brass bands that perform year round. It’s staggering when you stop to think about how prolific this great music is, even outside the treasures on the web. However, I really enjoyed the feature about the ‘renaissance’ of early music (hah!) and its restorationist puritans. In particular, it reminded me of two Youtube versions of Marc Antoine Charpentier’s Te Deum, a wonderful piece written towards the end of the 17th century.
First, the authentic version performed by Le Parlement de Musique. Be sure to note the kick-ass instrument at the 1:44 mark. It’s called a serpent and I think we can all agree it should have never been eliminated from modern ensembles.
Next, here is an updated version played on a spectacular pipe organ.
I always find myself drawn to these two very different yet equally glorious versions, and am consequently rather thankful for both musical schools of thought.