Commentaires sur le disque « Oeuvres sacrées »
« Une Messe des Morts dans l'esprit de la polyphonie de la Renaissance ouvre ce disque, suivie d'un fort émouvant Pie Jesu interprété avec intensité par la mezzo-soprano Claudine Ledoux. En solo ou avec choeur, la soprano Stéphanie Lessard, le ténor Philippe Gagné, le baryton Vincent Ranallo et le baryton-basse Normand Richard prêtent aussi leur voix avec expression et sensibilité à des pages pleines de piété (Improperium, Exaltabo te, O Salutaris, Ave Maria). On soulignera l'excellence des choeurs: Les Chantres Musiciens et les Filles de l'Île, dirigés par Gilbert Patenaude. L'interprétation par le choeur féminin d'un Ave Maria et par le choeur d'hommes a cappella de la Messe brève sont particulièrement remarquables et montrent la pertinence de faire connaître la musique d'Auguste Descarries, À l'orgue, souvent discrète et toujours efficace, Hélène Panneton. »
Irène Brisson, musicologue
Bulletin des Amis de l'orgue de Québec
Avril 2014 - no 132
« Just a quick word to say thanks again. We have enjoyed the Descarries enormously. Your project was an excellent discovery. I love his exploitation of the tierce de Picardie in so many of his cadences. It's an easy trick, but a most effective one since about 1450! And the singers on the record are superb.»
Université Carleton (Ottawa)
« Yesterday I sat down and listened carefully to the CD you had sent, rather than have it as 'music' in the background as I made muffins...! And of course I read the booklet, which I thought was very informative and useful to better appreciate the music, even though we all know about sacred music. The photos were good too; people always like photos! -- me too!
I was not sure what to expect. The sacred music written in the 20th century with which I am familiar, such as Tavener, Pärt, Lauridsen, Jenkins, but certainly excluding Chesnokov, is what I would call modern. Whereas Descarries's music is late romantic
and as you note, influenced by the Russian composers.. ( many of whom I do not know, that are mentioned in the booklet). There are some modern echoes, as in the «Amen» of the Dies irae, the Pie Jesu, even the Ave Maria. it is interesting to speculate what Descarries might have written had he lived 10 or even 20 more years.
However, he was writing sacred music in the tradition of sacred music, and it is quite beautiful and solemn, and suitably gregorian for liturgical music! The soloists did a fantastic job, I especially enjoyed the tenor (of course it is my favourite voice), along with mezzo or contralto ( almost tenors). I appreciated the perfect pronunciation of the latin, having sung many of the same words myself. They were easy to understand, and I am sure most in the audience would know the texts. For me, the sorrow and pathos were evident in the music, and very moving. What I missed, -and this only occasionally - was the hellfire and brimstone. The one section that had me waving my arms around was the Dies irae, where I wished he had written it for the whole choir, as the womens' voices would have added to the fear meant to be inspired by God's wrath. The men's choir did not quite convince me.
The Hosanna with the two choirs had the celebratory feeling that I would have liked to hear - transcribed to anger - in the Dies Irae. Alors... you may think I listen to all music with such an analytical cast, but usually I just enjoy it, which I did, immensely ! I think you and your colleagues have done a tremendous job, and will make this music, of a Canadian composer available to all of us. Donc, félicitations encore! »
Lorelei Robins, Annapolis Royal, N.S.
Fondatrice et directrice du Festival «Musique à Saint-Bernard»
8 novembre 2013