#05 Lux

Ensemble la Sportelle, vocal ensemble

Laetitia Corcelle soprano and conductor
Aurélie Castagnol, Ariane Wohlhuter sopranos
Anne Bertin-Hugault, Marie Royer altos
Steve Zheng, Cédric Lotterie tenors
Cédric Baillergeau baritone
Xavier Bazoge, Emmeran Rollin bass

Recorded in the chapel of the Grand Couvent de Gramat in January 2023

Just as great painters such as Rembrandt and Monet chose light as the true subject of their paintings, composers from the Renaissance to the present day have appropriated this impalpable and essential material. Placing light at the heart of their musical language, the composers in this programme paint vivid, highly contrasting landscapes in sound. Their harmonic paths, the thickness of their polyphony and the brilliance of their voices create what might be called sonic light of incredible variety.

By opening his O Magnum Mysterium with the lower voices, on a text softly unfurled in B flat minor, Poulenc creates a subdued, mysterious and gentle light, to which the lullaby of the angels at the very end of Whitacre‘s Lux Nova responds. In Victoria and Vic Nees, the vocal lines, through their lines and intervals, form veritable beams of light, straight and lively, underlining the harshness of the texts. In the Bruckner and Elgar pieces, it is the impressive thickness of the harmony that creates a sensation of warm, intense light. Finally, the rhythmic dimension of the pieces contributes greatly to this luminous sensation: the constant internal movement of Elgar‘s Lux aeterna evokes a mobile, fluid light, whereas in Vic Nees‘s De profundis, the rhythmic structure built on an inequality that turns on itself places us in a dark, enclosed space.

To serve this very special dimension of the works, the singers of Ensemble la Sportelle have sought to develop a whole palette of vocal colours, from hushed to sparkling, from the flickering of the flame to the brilliance of the day, with the invaluable help of their vocal coach Mélanie Moussay.

Press review

Charm remains the first ally of emotion in this journey which ends, gently, in the image of this voyage, a comforting caress out of timeEmmanuel Deroeux, Olyrix – 8 December 2023

And the light does not fail to illuminate the listener throughout this fine programme, which is as seductive for its diversity of periods and countries as for its near-perfect interpretation. It’s also worth noting that La Sportelle never falls into the traps set for artists who sing a cappella. We can only recommend this fine recording, very luminous and perfectly edited and performed.Hélène Biard, – 21 February 2024


1. Vidimus stellam verset grégorien
2. Anton Bruckner Ave Maria
3. Francis Poulenc O Magnum Mysterium
4. Francis Poulenc Quem vidistis pastores
5. Francis Poulenc Salve Regina
6. Tenebrae factae sunt répons grégorien
7. Francis Poulenc Tenebrae factae sunt
8. Tomás Luis de Victoria Caligaverunt oculi mei
9. Tomás Luis de Victoria Animam meam dilectam
10. Tomás Luis de Victoria Ecce quomodo moritur
11. Vic Nees De Profundis
12. Lucis creator optime hymne grégorienne
13. Josef Rheinberger Abendlied
14. Thomas Tallis If ye love me
15. Lux aeterna communion grégorienne
16. Anton Bruckner Os justi
17. Anton Bruckner Virga Jesse
18. Illumina oculos meos communion grégorienne
19. Edward Elgar (John Cameron) Lux aeterna
20. Eric Whitacre Lux Nova