Working in collaboration with the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles and the Palazzetto Bru Zane (Centre de Musique Romantique Française), Hervé Niquet and Le Concert Spirituel carry on with their journey of rediscovering forgotten operatic works, this time pitting themselves against music from the close of the Age of Enlightenment, in Andromaque (1778), the single tragédie lyrique written by André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry (1741- 1813). Known above all for his light opéras- comiques, at the end of his career the composer turned towards an increasingly heroic style in the vein of Méhul and Cherubini.
Of course, members of the distinguished avant-garde sax quartet Rova and the raucous avant jazz trio Nels Cline Singers (in which nobody sings, in case you wonder) have intermingled before on a few occasions – the Ascension project being one. Still, to bring the two together (and their audiences) and to write a repertoire especially for this short-lived septet had to require some guts and determination. And it was effort well invested, since The Celestial Septet is a thrilling record, and one of Rova's most artistically successful collaborations. Recorded in 2008 on two separate occasions, the CD features five works ranging between two and 25 minutes in duration. Strangely, both the shortest and longest piece are Larry Ochs compositions.