It’s an unexpected trip! As if we were in the time machine… From the first notes, we are in the heart of Chicago, back in the Untouchables’ time, in prohibition era. The Trio Nouveaux Siècles, bringing together Julien Chirol, Michel Feugère and Frédéric Couderc, takes us to the Aragon Ballroom. No excessive jazz orchestra, just three swinging brass instruments, from trombone to saxophone within trumpet, each instrument plays a melodic, harmonic or rhythmic role depending on the circumstances.
Little is known of the life of Paschal de L'Estocart, the French composer of the late Renaissance who was roughly a contemporary of Claude Le Jeune (1528 -1600). He seems to have been sympathetic to the Protestant Reformers – he spent considerable time in Germany and his music was published in Geneva – but later in life he applied unsuccessfully to the French King for a position at an abbey. His collection of psalms and motets, Sacrae Cantiones, 16 of which are recorded here, are mostly in French, along with several in Latin, and was dedicated to Calvinist Count Palatine Johann Casimir in 1582. This collection also includes his Ode in 12 parts, set to religious texts in French. L'Estocart's music is typical of late Renaissance polyphony, eclectic in its use of a cantus firmus, imitative counterpoint, and homophonic writing, with an unusually free use of dissonance. The French mixed a cappella ensemble Ludus Modalis, led by Bruno Boterf, specializes in music of this era and sings with passion and authority. Intonation is immaculate and tone quality is pure and unforced. The recorded sound is clean, but spacious and warm.