The ensemble Les Meslanges, founded by Thomas Van Essen, brings together solo singers and instrumentalists with a passion for the musical diversity offered by early music.
At the source of the ensemble’s musical approach is the desire to place music in its context, hence a “mise en correspondances” with the arts and texts of the time. A variety of formulas are adopted: “concert conté”, lively readings of literary texts or compositions to create a link with the music, and the use of scenic elements to invite the audience to the music.
Since 2004, the ensemble has been working with organists such as François Ménissier and Jean-Luc Ho on programs alternating between organ pieces and plainchant in faux-bourdon with serpent.
Les Meslanges perform regularly in Normandy: Rouen, Caen, Septembre Musical de l’Orne, L’Eure Poétique et Musicale… They have also been invited to perform at festivals such as Sinfonia en Périgord, Festival Baroque de Pontoise, Les Riches Heures de La Réole, Festival de Musique Ancienne de Ribeauvillé, Valloire Baroque, Musiques à la Chabotterie, and in Scotland (Edinburgh)… With programs such as Pour les Festes Solemnelles, concocted with organist Jean-Luc Ho for the 350th anniversary of François Couperin’s birth, and the Masses retrouvées by Jehan Titelouze (1563-1633), the ensemble has been invited by festivals such as St Michel-en-Thiérache, Musique Sacrée à N. D. de Paris, Les Amis de la Musique, and others. D. de Paris, Les Amis de l’Orgue de Charolles, the Festival de Lanvellec et du Trégor, the Festival de la Chaise-Dieu, the Académie Bach, the Musicales de Normandie, the Festival de Musique Ancienne d’Utrecht in the Netherlands… In June 2022, the ensemble was invited to the TAG Regensburg Festival in Germany for its new program Messe & Te Deum pour Louis XIII, which was revived in Rouen at the Musicales de Normandie and Journées Solstice festivals.
Among the ensemble’s discography, “Pour une Cathédrale…”, for the PSALMUS label, revolves around the organ works of Jehan Titelouze and French music from the first half of the 17th century, and has been hailed by the press: France Musique “Coup de cœur”, Diapason “5 Diapasons”: “An enlightening and splendid achievement. …Van Essen and his troupe create a music of the word, magnifying words in form and meaning”, Classica “4 étoiles”: “a dance of the mind and senses”.
The Les Meslanges ensemble has recorded two discs for PARATY, featuring Messes retrouvées by Jehan Titelouze and organ pieces played by François Ménissier. Among the awards: Diapason Découverte of April 2019 and 5 de Diapason of January 2021 and the Clef d’Or 2019 from ResMusica and 5 stars from Classica magazine, 3 F from Telerama. Finally, François Couperin’s Pièces d’orgue with Jean-Luc Ho released for Harmonia Mundi won a Diapason d’Or.
“Meslanges? For Thomas Van Essen willingly combines voice and instruments … These clear, vividly projected voices animate Titelouze’s learned polyphony with great dynamic flexibility… They delight the mind and bewitch the senses” Denis Morrier, Mensuel Diapason.
The ensemble Les Meslanges is supported by the Ministère de la Culture – DRAC de Normandie – by the Région Normandie and by the Ville de Rouen. It is a member of FEVIS, the PROFEDIM union and the Groupements d’Employeurs Solstice and Oscar. Les Meslanges regularly receives support from ADAMI and FCM for its recording activities. In 2022, the ensemble will be in residence at the Académie Bach d’Arques-la-Bataille.
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