Charpentier Messe de Minuit pour Noël
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,131
    Contemplating for Christmas. Anyone with experience of it. Editions?
  • Our choir has performed it twice. A bound performing edition is available from Concordia Publishing in St. Louis. It's very charming; I hope that we perform it again in the not-too-distant future.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,744
    I have sung both the Messe de Minuit... H. 9 and the In Nativitatem Domini Canticum H.416 (with Zephyrus, about 20 years ago) in editions by H. Wiley Hitchcock (& Paul Walker, then music director of Zephyrus, for H.416 full score, critical edition, available from J.W.Pepper). They are both marvelous works, typically Charpentier.

    Marc-Antoine Charpentier: In nativitatem Domini canticum H. 416
    Bach Collegium at Saint Peter's
    Dr. Bálint Karosi, Conductor
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    Messe de Minuit (Charpentier)
    Deutsch-Französischer Chor Dresden
    Dirigent: Reinhart Gröschel
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    Thanked by 1Jim_Goeddel58
  • Yes, we sang the Messe de Minuit from the Hitchcock edition. Readily available, as we needed to restock in order to sing it for Christmas 2018. Where DO these copies go, I ask you?
    Thanked by 1cesarfranck
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,400
    Depending on how you feel about notes inégales, the written out dotted notes of Hitchcock's edition (or the CPDL editions based on his) might serve. I've made my own, but N. Sceaux on IMSLP seems good, and has parts.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen BruceL
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 734
    I have performed it, using the Concordia edition (I think). I would suggest deleting the many instrumental interludes, which make it unduly long.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,066
    I'll offer the counter to Richard R.: if you are working in the EF, you should most certainly NOT delete the interludes. The Mass is based on carols, and this is a way of (if you will) "gladdening the hearts" of the faithful who hear it...and showing the tunes upon which it is based.

    That said, some prudential pruning *might* help it work better in an OF setting. But...à chacun son goût!
  • We will sing it, with an organ reduction of the orchester. And I fully agree with you, BruceL : the very idea of this mass is to introduce and integrate popular carols to the most intricated masterwork, as the popular faith meets with the finest liturgy in the moment of Christmas !
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Chaswjd
    Posts: 148
    We usually just sing the Agnus Dei. It is a fun piece.
  • I have recently completed a new edition of Charpentier's Messe de Minuit based on the composer's autograph manuscript and taking into account recent research on Charpentier's music. Attached is a PDF sample from the first Kyrie. If you wish to use this edition for performance, please contact me at
  • Felicia
    Posts: 71
    I've sung the Concordia edition several times with a local early music group for their annual (except for COVID) Christmas concert. Delightful music, but I've often wondered how it could be used liturgically.
  • This may be the most cute homely of all French sacred music, choral or instrumental, to have been handed down to us. As in many of the versets of French organ masses, Charpentier's mass is pure dance and cuteness. More than anything it reveals the French assumption that the next life will be one of a constant danse de joie.

    For me, though, I would always offer something much less frivolous and much greater gravitas and sobriety on any high and holy solemnity.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,066
    @llewopnhoj looks very elegant.

    We did this in 2019 for Midnight Mass. It is an amazing piece. I remembered the Concordia edition being good, but 1) they write out the notes inegales (which I don't care for...that said, our symphony musicians weren't all familiar with the rehearsals got pedantic at times), 2) I believe it's down a whole step in c minor (to imitate historic pitch?) I found both those decisions questionable.

    The Carus edition is excellent, if expensive.
  • The Concordia is excellent except for the written-out notes inégales which correspond to an HIP caricature of the concept and are not distinguished from the urtext at all. (Actual notes inégales are much closer to 1:1 than 3:1 and constantly vary based on the musical context and taste of the performers, which is all whitewashed in the Concordia.)