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Marc-Antoine Charpentier

Marc-Antoine Charpentier

Biography

Marc-Antoine Charpentier was an astoundingly prolific 17th century composer, producing music that ranged from sacred vocal music to comedic ballet music. His compositions also include oratorios, masses, operas, biblical tragedies, and numerous chamber works that defy categorization.

There is some dispute about the exact year of his birth, but it's generally agreed that he was born in 1643. One of his early appointments was with the Duchess of Guise, and by the early 1680s he entered the service of the grand dauphin, for which Louis XIV granted him a pension in 1683. He spent the 1680s teaching and performing mostly for French nobles and became attached to the Jesuit church of St Louis in Paris. From 1698 until his death he held the important post of musical director of the Saint-Chapelle, for which he wrote some of his most impressive works. The output of Charpentier during the middle of his life was impressive for both its quantity and quality and he was the only Frenchman of his time to write oratorios at all. Today, Charpentier's bombastic prelude to his Te Deum, is well-known as the signature tune for the European Broadcasting Union.

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