Rave reviews for the latest Gothic Voices Solage recording

2 October 2006

Gothic Voices’ new recording “The Unknown Lover - Songs by Solage and Machaut”, released on the AVIE label on 25 September has been greeted with universal acclaim. Most recently Robert Levett has said in the December issue of International Record Review: “Over the last 25 years the ensemble has delighted listeners with performances of the utmost clarity and beauty. Those contained on the latest release are no exception: listen to tenor Steven Harrold in the opening track, Solage’s Le Basile (‘The Basilisk’) as he bewails the effects of envy and deceit while his three companions negotiate the accompaniment with great precision and a real feel for the highly syncopated rhythms; or the same composer’s astonishingly modern-sounding Fumeux fume par fumee (‘From dreams the dreamer dreams’) in which descending motifs explore distant tonalities, the low tessitura further adding to the hypnotic effect; or mezzo Catherine King’s affecting simplicity in Machaut’s monophonic Se je souspir parfondement (‘If I sigh deeply’)...the music itslef is allowed to impact upon the listener, such is the pristine balance and intonation of the singers.”

Berta Joncus awarded it 4 stars in BBC Music Magazine’s October issue, saying: “The performance triumphantly affirms the ensemble’s claim to fame, and establishes that of Solage. Gothic Voices continue to exude vitality while masterfully controlling the most complex structures. Solage’s output brings out their distinctive strengths: precision (of intonation, voice exchange and blend), edginess (of tempos and line), and clarity (of timbre and pronunciation). Perhaps most impressive is their facility for making highly esoteric music, including the vocalised accompaniment, engaging without compromising it’s sophistication.”

Mary Berry wrote in the November issue of The Gramophone “The singers manage with perfect ease the long vocalisations and rhythmic complexities of some of the ballades, for example S’aincy estoit: their performance flows as naturally as a gentle stream”

While Andrew Stewart wrote in Classic FM Magazine’s November issue: “After a quarter of a century as mainstays of Hyperion’s catalogue, Gothic Voices go it alone with their debut Avie release. The intricate poetic art and refined music of Guillaume de Machaut, servant to the king of Bohemia, and a shrewd politician, supplies part of their mouth-watering medieval programme. The balance holds the complete surviving works of Solage, best known for his Fumeux, fume par fumee, probably written for an eccentric literary clique in the 1380’s. Gothic Voices catch hold of the extravagant weirdness of works written with highly educated connoisseurs in mind, propelling them into the 21st century with irresistible dash and enthusiasm.”

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