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«Adieu mes très Belles»

The French trio Adieu mes Très Belles Amours (Farewell my very beautiful love), titled after the first verse in a French poem by Gilles Binchois from the 15th century, is an extension of the duo Kindergarten of soprano vocalist Poline Renou and reeds player Matthieu Donarier. Kindergarten has been restlessly questioning the notion of duet playing by experimenting with forms of composition, improvisation, counterpoints, rhythmic cycles and text reading. After ten years of playing together Renou and Donarier invited percussionist Sylvain Lemêtre, known for his collaborations with guitarist Marc Ducret and violist Garth Knox, to join and form this unconventional trio.

All three musicians have experienced playing free-improvised music, contemporary music and Renou is also well-versed in early music. Adieu mes Très Belles Amours decided to focus on early European vocal music, from the very first medieval monodies to the polyphonies of the late Renaissance, on the edge of Baroque music. Renou, Donarier and Lemêtre re-read and transformed these plain-chants, ballads, songs and motets. Some pieces were restored as close as possible to the original text, others were re-composed in total freedom, blurring the distinction between the past and the present.

Adieu mes Très Belles Amours répertoire begins in the middle of the 14th century and concludes about three centuries later but sounds timeless. The trio arrangements sound fresh, vivid and always inventive. Renou alternates between a straightforward, emotional reading of the poetic texts and going totally wild and eccentric on the few wordless pieces, eventually even turning the old English poem «Maid in the Moor Lay» into an associative rap. Donarier modest playfulness and elegant tone adds a dreamy, suggestive depth to the simple, somber themes. Lemêtre acts as the unpredictable element in this trio. He keeps introducing highly inventive, nuanced colors that intensify the dramas and sends these archaic poetic texts into surprising sonic terrains, Middle-Eastern, minimalist or of modern chamber music.

Adieu mes Très Belles Amours succeeds to establish a delicate synergy the highlights its strong, distinct voices and the infectious emotional impact of its untimely repertoire.

Eyal Hareuveni

Poline Renou (v), Matthieu Donarier (cl), Sylvain Lemêtre (perc)

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