Of the three volumes of Lully that Herve Niquet has recorded (with thanks to Naxos for re-releasing them) this second installment is my favorite, although I recommend the others as well.
There are four substantial "grands motets" included here, which require a baroque orchestra, chorus and a quintet of soloists. The first, Quare fremuerunt, is a jovial piece with energy to spare. The other three, O Lachrymae, Dies irae, and De profundis are all much more subdued and sombre (which I happen to like very much).
For all of his bluster and ruthless domination over the musical scene in Paris, Lully was undoubtedly a very good composer. There are many sublime turns of phrase to be found in these motets, and the energy he is able to generate can be truly exciting.
Part of the reason these works come across so well is the superb performance given here by Le Concert Spirituel. This group has a very good grasp on how to execute the French style, and the playing and singing is nearly flawless. With a group of soloist including Veronique Gens, John-Paul Fouchecourt and Peter Harvey, there is no lack of great singing.
If you like French baroque vocal music, this recording should fit very nicely into your collection, and provide much pleasure. Buy it if you can.