ΙΕΡΟΣ / HIEROS
Ensemble Céladon, Paulin Bündgen
Outhere/Fuga Libera FUG 767. 52’41
In ancient Greek, ΙΕΡΟΣ | HIEROS means ‘sacred’, a theme portrayed by the Ensemble Céladon vocal trio in this recording. It alternates medieval music with contemporary compositions (all a cappella) in an examination of “the musical evolution of the sacred”, contrasting 13th-century conductus from the School of Notre-Dame to the six works by French composer Jean-Philippe Goude (b1952).
Jean-Philippe Goude’s career seems to have concentrated on music for films, television and commercials. His music represented here is in the intense close harmony school of contemporary vocal music that owes much to the Medieval era and also reminds me of the music of several contemporary composers notably, perhaps, Arvo Pärt. The mood is meditative, with a distinctive use of note clusters and is in sharp contrast to the often bouncy triple-time rhythms of the Notre-Dame pieces. The texts are generally his own.
The singing of the three high voices (two sopranos and a countertenor) is impressive, the soaring line that hovers over Goude’s opening Ombrer la nuit (and some of his other pieces) is just one example. The generous acoustics adds an attractive bloom to the singing, which is helped by impressive intonation and clarity of tone.
The Goude piece on track 11 (Trois litanies) has some rather curious background sounds which are not easy to identify but do include some percussion. In what might be a misprint, a percussionist is credited on track 4 (Éternité), but not on this one.