Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne, Michel Corboz - Schola Aeterna

Published Thursday 21st April 2016
Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne, Michel Corboz - Schola Aeterna
Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne, Michel Corboz - Schola Aeterna

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 161173-25472
LABEL: Mirare MIR262

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

This programme stands out against the idea of a supposed rivalry between the two great Parisian schools at the end of the 19th century, the Conservatoire and the Schola Cantorum, and showcases techniques inherited from both plainsong and a golden age of polyphony by three generations of musicians. La Schola was founded in 1894 as an alternative to the emphasis on opera at the Paris Conservatoire and to foster the study of late Baroque and early Classical works, Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony. The CD opens and closes with the well-known "Panis Angelicus" by Cesar Frank (1862-1890), the opener featuring soprano Marie Jaermann and the close tenor Jonathan Spicher, and the two shed different light on this famous piece. The four other composers who bring us into the 20th century are Paul Ladmirault (1877-1944), Paul Berthier (1884-1953), Joseph-Guy Ropartz (1864-1955) and Jehan Alain (1911-1940). If all are familiar it is probably safe to say that much of what is on this disc will already be in your collection but if they are new to you than Michel Corboz and the Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne do them full justice and give a splendid introduction to these relatively obscure composers. I was particularly struck by the Breton songs of Ladmirault and Alain's "Messe Modale" but everything on this disc is tuneful and very well sung. Most of the content is in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary and looks back to the compositional practices based on Renaissance polyphony and plainchant and should be of interest to all who have an interest in choral music and especially French Roman Catholic composition.

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