He was a prolific and versatile composer, producing music of the highest quality in several genres. His mastery in the composition of sacred vocal music was recognised and acknowledged by his contemporaries.
Charpentier was born in or near Paris, the son of a master scribe who had very good connections to influential families in the Parlement of Paris. Marc-Antoine received a very good education, perhaps with the help of the Jesuits, and registered for law school in Paris when he was eighteen.
He was in Rome, probably between 1667 and 1669, and studied with Giacomo Carissimi. There is a legend that Charpentier initially travelled to Rome to study painting before he was discovered by Carissimi. This story is undocumented and possibly untrue. Regardless, he acquired a solid knowledge of the contemporary Italian practice that he brought to France upon his return.
Most likely he worked for Marie de Lorraine, duchesse de Guise on his return to France, as her house composer, until her death in 1688. During this time he composed a considerable quantity of dramatic secular vocal works, as well as Psalm settings, hymns, a Magnificat setting, a mass, and motets, which he called stories and canticum.
Beginning around 1672, he worked with Molière, after Molière’s falling out with Jean-Baptiste Lully. During the 1680s Charpentier served as maître de musique at the Jesuits’ Paris church of St. Louis. In addition, Charpentier served as the music teacher to Philippe, Duke of Chartres. Charpentier was appointed Maître de musique à la Sainte Chapelle in 1698, a post he held until his death on 24th February 1704. One of his most famous compositions during his tenure was the Mass “Assumpta Est Maria” (H.11).
His compositions include oratorios, masses, operas, and numerous smaller pieces that are difficult to categorise. Many of his smaller works for one or two voices and instruments resemble the Italian cantata of the time, and share most features except for the name: Charpentier calls them airs sérieux or airs à boire if they are in French, but cantata if they are in Italian.
Edited by Grosseteste on 19 Aug 2010, 07:51
Registered users can edit this page. Sign up now, it’s free and you will discover so much great music :)
Generated from facts marked up in the wiki.
No facts about this artist
You can also view a list of all recent wiki changes.
From other sources.