University of Leeds International Concert Series


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Marc-Antoine Charpentier – David et Johnathas

Leeds Baroque Choir and Orchestra directed by Peter Holman

Marc-Antoine Charpentier is now recognised as the greatest French composer of the seventeenth century. Leeds Baroque present a rare performance one of Charpentier’s greatest works, the sacred opera David et Jonathas, written in 1688 for the Jesuit college in Paris. It deals with the tragic sequence of events, related in the Book of Samuel, resulting from David’s victory over Goliath, including King Saul’s visit to the Witch of Endor; David’s defection to the Philistines caused by the king’s madness and jealousy; David’s love for Jonathan, the king’s son; and the eventual death of both Saul and Jonathan.

Charpentier’s innovative and colourful use of the orchestra is passionate, extrovert and tragic by turns, providing intensely dramatic music reminiscent of Purcell’s operas.

For this performance Leeds Baroque’s orchestra is constituted in the distinctive French Baroque manner with oboes and recorders, a string group including two viola parts and large bass violins (rather than cellos), and a continuo section of bass viol, theorbo and two harpsichords.

Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, School of Music, University of Leeds

Tickets: £18 – advance
£20 – on the door
Free – students and under 16s

Pre-concert talk: 2:00pm – “David et Jonathas: Opera, or Oratorio, or…?” by Adrian Powney

Specialising in historical musicology, Adrian’s doctoral research centres on French Baroque performance practices focusing in particular on aspects of notation, metre and tempo in the music of Marc-Antoine Charpentier.  Following publication in the Bulletin Charpentier of an article on Charpentier’s idiosyncratic use of the time signatures, Adrian is now working on a critical edition of this composer’s later period Leçons de Ténèbres to be published by the French ministry of culture’s Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles research institute.

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