Lés Metaboles & Léo Warynski – The Angels (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 45:52 minutes | 472 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front cover | © NoMadMusic
Avocal ensemble always brings a portion of mystery to a concert. One knows the layout of an orchestra: the instruments all have their place – who will be in front, who in back – but the distribution of voices seems subject to a changeable and secret logic.
That evening, Les Métaboles made their entrance in the great refectory of Royaumont abbey. They walked onto the stage burning with an almost solar light installed under the alcove for the reader who once accompanied the monks’ meals. Four singers took this overhanging position and, like a benediction, let out William Byrd’s Ave verum corpus in slow waves onto their silent acolytes.
‘The makings of a miracle,’ a listener might have thought, if he could detach himself from the scene. Then, organised in a double chorus, the whole ensemble took the audience even farther with I Love the Lord, the first piece by Jonathan Harvey. How can one describe this beautiful unanimity, which suddenly becomes unstable on its tilted ground? And this flight, this ascension by a lone, very high voice that reestablishes the certainty in the song? The composer’s first foray into the world was masterful, and nothing has altered this impression as the portrait materialises and grows richer.
This album is the memory of a moment of remarkable depth. We sometimes say that remembrance embellishes the past. Here, it rather has the virtue of concentrating it. It is still on Léo Warynski’s mind a year later. Les Métaboles’ residency at the Fondation Royaumont also included a session with young composers. The ink on their scores was barely dry, and the rehearsals crossed over one another. It was demanding work, but it also reinforced the group’s cohesiveness. ‘I came out of the brief time I keep to myself before going on stage, and I saw them, in a circle, concentrating their energy. This had never happened.’
The programme was indeed a heavy one to bear. Sixteen singers are the minimum in this repertoire, as this sometimes represents the number of different voices written in the score. Everyone is thus a soloist. The task of ensuring clarity, transparency and intensity without weightiness falls to them, while we the audience receive the rich experience of hearing all the timbres of these individual voices emerge and disappear in the tight weave of the group.
1. Ave verum corpus (04:26)
2. I Love the Lord (04:50)
3. Come, Holy Ghost (06:56)
4. Plainsongs for Peace and Light (07:21)
5. Remember Not, Lord, Our Offences (02:59)
6. Remember, O Lord (03:12)
7. Stabat Mater (07:25)
8. The Annunciation (04:16)
9. The Angels (04:27)