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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
Other reviews from The Sounding Board by R J Lannan:
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Beau soir de Noël
By Trio Beau Soir
Label: Disques Boghei Records
Released 11/2/2016
Beau soir de Noël tracks
1. Venez mes enfants (feat. Le Choeur les Rhapsodes & David Rompré)
2. Anjou
3. Un flambeau Jeanette, Isabelle (feat. Le Choeur les Rhapsodes & David Rompré)
4. Sainte Nuit (feat. Luce Vachon, Le Choeur les Rhapsodes & David Rompré)
5. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (feat. Le Choeur les Rhapsodes & David Rompré)
6. In Dulci Jubilo
7. Le Sommeil de l’enfant Jésus (feat. Luce Vachon, Le Choeur les Rhapsodes & David Rompré)
8. Noël
9. Coventry Carol (feat. Le Choeur les Rhapsodes & David Rompré)
10. O Little Town of Bethlehem
11. The Sussex Mummers’ Christmas Carol
12. La vierge à la crèche (feat. Luce Vachon)
13. Trois anges sont venus ce soir
14. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
15. Dors ma colombe (feat. Le Choeur les Rhapsodes & David Rompré)
Beau soir de noël
I have to say that reviewing this album is a bit nostalgic for me. Mr. Armand Letandre, the chorus leader of my youth at St. Joseph’s School played many of these songs during lulls in teaching us how to sing in French and Latin. Trio Beau Soir, the highly talented chamber group from Québec, Canada offers up fifteen tracks of traditional Christmas music from the annals of French and French Canadian history. The trio consisting of Isabelle Fortier on harp, Geneviève Savoie on flute and Jean-François Gagné on viola have an established reputation for excellence in the field of chamber music. On Beau Soir De Noël they are joined by singer Luce Vachon and the choir Les Rhapsodes directed by David Rampré and also Jean-Luc Bouchard on percussion.

The album opens with the tune Venez Mes Enfants (Come My Children) that has a wonderful balance of music and chorus. The flute intro is exquisite as it bids us to hear the news. It is a very old song inviting us to celebrate the birth of the Christ child. The sweet choir presents an old world charm that is lacking in the modern day world.

Anjou is a beautiful carol by Cesar Franck, but as many of the tune are, adapted by Gagné as a lead-in to a dynamic production for the flute and chorus. Un Flambeau Jeanette, Isabelle is a tune with which I am very familiar. Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella is a Christmas time staple with a lot of followers. In Provence, France it is traditional for children to go to midnight mass bearing torches and candles.

Sainte Nuit features the gorgeous mezzo-soprano voice of Luce Vachon in the French version of Silent Night. Her silky voice adds a touch of reverence to the well-known chanson. Isabelle Fortier's glorious harp opens the tune Le Sommeil de L’Enfant Jésus. The song has the voices of Les Rhapsodes as well as Vachon and it is a sublime rendition based on an old world song.

"Entre le boeuf et l'âne gris,
Dors, dors, dors le petit fils:
Mille anges divins, mille séraphins,
Volent à l'entour de ce grand Dieu d'amour."

A tune simply called Noël by Jean-Claude Daquin, the famous Baroque composer, offers the singular talents of Trio Beau Soir. Although Daquin's Noëls are based on compositions for organ, the trio delivers a poignant version that pleases in every way. The traditional Coventry Carol is featured with the choir in a dramatic presentation. The upbeat percussion by Jean-Luc Bouchard tempers the song with a reverent cadence.

Jean-François Gagné’s dulcet viola leads on the song O Little Town of Bethlehem that becomes quite a production number. The gentle tune has a nostalgic air, as if we revisit that village in our dreams. I was unfamiliar with the song The Sussex Mummers' Christmas Carol, but I fell in love with it thanks to Geneviève Savoie's lyrical flute contribution.

I know I have heard the tune Trois Anges Sont Venus Ce Soir before, but I can’t place the context. It is another song where the threesome excel at their craft balancing passionate melody against harmonic content. The composition is lush as well as enthralling.

Finally, Galuppi’s Dors Ma Colombe or Sleep My Dove is treated as a dream-like sequence with the combination of a strong harp presence, a melodic flute accompaniment and a refined viola part. I have heard the song many times, but until now, I never knew its origin.

I invite anyone that has never experienced classical and traditional music from French and French-Canadian culture to expose their emotions to this beautiful album. The music is steeped in musical history and by the skillful rendering of Trio Beau Soir transmuted to a modern day gift for the Christmas season. Je vous garantis que cette musique vous apporte de la joie.

Highly recommended.
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 12/12/2016
 
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