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The Chapelle royale is one of the oldest French royal musical institutions. Its history goes back to the Middle Ages. Although it was originally set up by Francis Ist, it really rose to heights of splendour in the reign of Louis XIV, at Versailles: “This monarch’s lasting intention was to make the chapel at Versailles the most magnificent place in this sumptuous, brilliant palace,” it says in a folio of the Mercure galant from 1682. The Chapelle was under the direction of a master of music, a high ecclesiastical dignitary. Its musicians were allotted to serve the religious offices, and to the under-masters (sous-maîtres) fell the honour of conducting the services, from 1663 each serving in turn for one quarter or term.
These recordings date from 1992-93 and feature an array of artists whose eminence in the once-elusive style of the French Baroque is unchallenged.
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