Ever heard of Louis le Prince?
If not then you can be excused, as very little of his output survives; in fact his Missa Macula non est in te is all we have. We don't know much about the composer himself either, other than that he was maître de chapelle at Lisieux.
Le Prince was writing at a time when sacred music was beginning to move outside of purely religious institutions in France and was consequently becoming known to a wider public. The young king Louis XIV was of course a great advocate of the arts, and the rich cultural atmosphere he enabled became a fertile breeding ground for music in particular.
The title of Le Prince's Mass translates as 'there is no stain in thee' and relates to the Immaculate Conception, and as such is a homage to the Virgin Mary. Here, Niquet reconstructs an Office around the Mass as it might have been performed at the time. Works by two of the pillars of the court musical establishment, Lully and Charpentier complement the the Missa Macula and the whole performance holds together with a convincing cohesiveness.
Niquet doubles some vocal lines in the all female choir with instruments, as would have been the practice at the time. The resulting recording is beautifully balanced between the organ and other instruments and the voices; the church acoustic gives a warm resonance while allowing the higher lines to arc over the ensemble in a thrilling evocation of spiritual devotion.
A worthy follow up to Niquet's recent Renaissance triumph, Striggio: Mass for 40 and 60 Voices