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figures antiques & rites nouveaux; musique sacrée de France et du Québec.
Lucie Mayer, dramatic soprano, François Zeitouni, organ.
Click here for a sample | Click here to order

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Why this musical choice?
Firstly, love at first sight. I like all of the répertoire on this CD, for its music, its texts, and the interpretation François and I have come up with. Each piece has its own identity, a little je-ne-sais-quoi that makes them unique.

Then, because this répertoire has been scarcely, if at all, recorded and that it is rarely played. This CD is a witness of a slice of our history which is sliding into oblivion. In a way, we are doing our part in preserving it.

Because this religion which came from France, which has given us this musical florilege, has made its mark in the hearts of the Québécois people.

As a historical and musical outlook, and also personal preference.

For the happiness that comes out of working with this team.

For the sound recording and producing of Anne-Marie Sylvestre.

For the fractal art on the CD sleeve, by Louis Horvath and for his contant support throughout the long months this project took to put together.

For my parents, may they be cradled by these sacred melodies, wherever they may be in the afterlife.

Composers: :

Gabriel Cusson, Offrande

http://thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/gabriel-cusson-emc/
What I like most about this piece, is its naïveté. It expresses very well the juvenile faith of certain religious people, one of which were my teachers. François found it in the archives of Raymond Daveluy, who studied with Gabriel Cusson. It is also because of this musical filiation (Cusson taught Daveluy, who taught François. Oh, and also my mum!) that we have decided to record it here.

Francis Poulenc, Priez pour paix
http://www.poulenc.fr/en/
French melody is the complex art of expressing the poetic mystery of the text which is held by music that has most often been composed independently from the poem, which it accompanies, highlights it, just like that perfect blue box to a carefully chosen diamond. Understanding a poem can't happen without the feeling of the text, first in the mouth, then in all of the body. Pronunciation then becomes this physical act of enunciating a double, a triple, sometimes a quadruple thought; that of the poet, the composer, the singer and the instrumental musician. The singer, beyond musical precision, has this responsibility of text clarity. An intellectual comprehension is essential, but can be superficial. The text of Priez pour Paix, from its simplicity, evokes a child-like, but not childish, faith. A child-like faith has this greatness that intellectual study has not yet furnished with arguments. It is simple. Unconditional. Strong. Disarming. And this is what the poet is hoping for: that his prayer be disarming to the point of avoiding war. My hope in singing this poem, this melody, is that war finally becomes a thing of the past.

Lionel Daunais, Cinq chants religieux
http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/lionel-daunais-emc/
http://www.prixduquebec.gouv.qc.ca/recherche/desclaureat.php?noLaureat=80
Of these five religious songs, nothing is known, no date, no occasion. In fact, these are not liturgical, save the Notre Père. Pie Jesu is part of the Requiem mass, but can be omitted. Souvenez-vous and Je vous salue Marie can have been written for celebrations in the month of May, the Month of Mary, but are not part of the liturgy. Maybe as a communion song. As for Mon doux Jésus, a communion song, or most likely, a First Communion song, maybe. The text is naive enough, echoing the prayers of a child. The editor of this piece, that was found by fluke, in a coffer given by the Daunais family to the Bibliothèque Nationale, was edited by him probably for the same reason I have recorded it : to avoid it being completely forgotten.
Éditions NTM : http://www.laplanteduval.com/NTM_editions.html

André Caplet, Pie Jesu
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/André_Caplet
http://www.andre-caplet.fr/
Discreet. That's what this piece is about. Not timid, but rather humble, about this piece written in 1919, shortly after the end of the first world war. A feeling of suspension of time expressed through the 5/4 time signature. A feeling of change, the world no more as it was, after this war that was sold as being the one to end all wars. Sometimes 3 beats + 2 beats, sometimes 2 beats + 3 beats, this feeling of void or of too much creates a feeling of instability within which, ironically, the auditor finds equilibrium. As François and I were reading this piece (which François brought), I knew Caplet for his orchestrations of melodies by Fauré and Debussy, and through a piece for flute that a former student had found, Une Flûte Invisible. I already liked the finesse of Caplet; I was completely won over with Pie Jesu. As if the wheel of destiny didn't have enough room with a binary beat to express time, but had to borrow a beat here and there in order to meet the new paradigms of life, of post-war thought. This new thought that had to include the memory of millions who had died in 1914-1918. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pie_Jesu

Raynald Arseneault, O Salutaris Hostia
http://thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/raynald-arseneault-emc/
This simple, bewitching hymn opens on a minimalist accompaniment from the organ, which barely sustains the little more ornate vocal melody. A piece that has a personal resonance for me: https://www.facebook.com/FiguresAntiquesRitesNouveaux and http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_salutaris_Hostia

Jean Langlais, Trois prières
http://www.jeanlanglais.com/
Three piece that have accompanied religious ceremonies related to the Holy-Sacrament and also the maritime benedictions (Ave Maris Stella). They remind me of Brittany, Brouage, Rocamadour, the little church of Sainte-Cécile-de-Lamèque, Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours...

Wolfgang Bottenberg, Marienlied
http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/wolfgang-bottenberg-emc/
A very simple, yet charming hymn, a lovely text by German poet Novalis, a well-constructed melody which supports the text. A reminder of the 7 years I lived in Germany, and most, a nod to my Uni professor, Wolfgang Bottenberg, who heard my audition and signed me up! Herzlichen Dank, Lieber Professor! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novalis


Sample : Priez pour paix by Francis Poulenc

Priez pour paix Poulenc from lucie mayer on Vimeo.



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