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It seems peculiar that so little of Charpentier's music was printed during his lifetime. Fortunately, soon after his death a large part of his manuscripts came into the possession of the "Bibliothèque du Roi", the institution which was later to form the foundation of the National Library. There Charpentier's works have reposed for almost 250 years and have only become noticed again within the last few decades. Today we recognize in him perhaps the greatest French musician of the 17th century, his music covering many realms of expression from genuine Baroque magnificence to delicately restrained lyricism. His forceful and unusual melodic lines frequently Iead to passages of a harmonic hardness. It is, however, just this that makes his work so original and appealing to us. The "Te Deum" is one of his best works and shows all the qualities of his style, about which a contemporary said: "Marc-Antoine Charpentier aussi sçavant que les Italiens a possédé au suprème degré l'art de joindre aux paroles Ies tons Ies plus convenables." (Walter Kolneder, taken from the preface of the orchestra score, 1958)