Swiss women's ensemble Polyhymnia has recorded a collection of music by twentieth and twenty first century Swiss and French composers. Conducted by Franck Marcon, the group sings with a direct, pure, sweet tone, if not the level of crystal-clear intonation and assurance that characterize the most extraordinary vocal ensembles. The group's strengths serve it well in this repertoire of tonally conservative modern music that frequently shows the influence of the conventions of chant. The Mass settings by Jehan Alain and André Caplet are striking in their simplicity and devotional purity, and they make full use of the sonorities of a choir of women's voices. In the Alain, they are accompanied by flutist Isabelle Giraud and organist Jean-Christophe Geiser. Julien-François Zbinden's choral cycle, Eternité, for voices and organ, which was written for the ensemble, is more tonally adventurous and gives the singers an opportunity to explore a broader emotional range than the very earnest Mass settings. The sound quality is warm and resonant.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Messe modale en septuor, for 2 voices, flute & string quartet (or organ), JA 136 (AWV 110)|
|Sprüche, for chorus|
|Mass for 3 voices "dite des Petits de Saint-Eustache-la-Forêt"|
|Eternité, for female chorus & organ, Op. 98|