Thursday 21 April 2016

Les Porches de Notre-Dame (Maneige, 1975)

What a beautiful suite this is! Maneige were no doubt one of the best band from Québec, and also one of the most open-minded ones, with their eclectic musical blend and their rich instrumentation. "Les Porches de Notre-Dame" ("Notre Dame Archways") are a 19 minutes long suite divided into six movements, full of acoustic instruments and mainly instrumental. The sacred-sounding "Ouverture" immediately inspires a spiritual tension and a quiet, visionary mood. The entire track displays this supernatural and nonetheless humble atmosphere, where traditional instruments bring back the Middle Ages and a wind-driven chamber music ensemble.

This suite opens "Les Porches", the second studio work by Maneige.

Grace and delicacy rule this composition, but you'll also find stingy, unquiet moments in it, especially when the piano comes in. The last and longest section also includes the only sung part of "Les Porches de Notre-Dame" and the listener is overwhelmed by Raoul Duguay's singular voice and by his trombone, not the most usual instrument in modern music. Finally, this is an unforgettable musical experience, if you believe me.

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