France's Ensemble Correspondances and its director, Sébastien Daucé, have created acclaimed recordings and performances that explore the sumptuous French choral repertory of the 17th and 18th centuries. Much of its music is newly unearthed, and the group's appeal lies partly in how it presents fully realized performances of music of which its audiences had previously been completely unaware.
Daucé, the founder and artistic director (a student of Françoise Lengellé and Yves Rechsteiner), met other members of the group when all were studying at the National Conservatory of Lyon, France. The students joined forces in 2009 as Ensemble Correspondances, using their access to libraries to uncover works that, in many cases, had not yet been published and, to quote the group, were "just waiting to be revived by young and passionate musicians."
The ensemble wasted little time in issuing its first album, O Maria, which was devoted to the music of Marc-Antoine Charpentier. Issued by the Belgian label Zig Zag Territoires, the album garnered favorable debut distinctions from such publications as Diapason and Fonoforum. Its sophomore release, L'Archange et le Lys, explored the sacred music of the almost unknown ancien régime composer Antoine Boësset and won similarly positive notices. The group toured Colombia in 2012, and the following year it was signed to Harmonia Mundi; its debut for that label, a recording of Charpentier's Litanies de la Vierge, propelled it to a series of European festival appearances in 2014 and to a second album, Etienne Moulinié: The Meslanges pour la Chapelle d'un Prince. It recorded the Leçons de Ténebres of Michel-Richard de Lalande with soprano Sophie Kärthäuser in 2015; this too was widely hailed as an important act of rediscovery.
Ensemble Correspondances gained French government support in 2016 and released the album O Mysterium, covering motets written by Henry du Mont for Louis XIV. It also issued a holiday album, Pastorale de Noël, featuring Christmas music of Charpentier beyond the usual, well-known examples. The year 2017 saw Ensemble Correspondances make its Asian (Hong Kong) and North American debuts, and its 2018 concert schedule included appearances at churches and halls in Lyon, Arles, Versailles, Katowice, and London.