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After The Tempest (Alpha 608), its first recording on a Shakespearian theme, which was much admired (Diapason d’Or etc.), La Tempête presents ‘Azahar’ (orange blossom in Spanish), which contrasts and interweaves the polyphony of Machaut with the poetry of the Spanish cantigas and the century of Stravinsky and Ohana. Simon-Pierre Bestion, founder of the company La Tempête, tells us: ‘I like the idea of disorientating the listener between different historical periods. Stravinsky wrote his Mass after discovering Machaut’s setting, while Ohana’s Cantigas de Santa Maria allude to those of Alfonso the Wise and to folksong . . . One can take extraordinary liberties with Machaut’s famous Mass: its music calls for a fairly sonorous, straight style of singing – like Corsican or Basque polyphony. I chose singers familiar with early music, powerful, direct voices, using little vibrato, voices that could also sing Stravinsky and Ohana. The orchestra was arranged in consorts for the early repertory, and in mixed desks for Ohana and Stravinsky. The chorus was placed all around in a circle, in a single row. I like to share that experience of feeling the sound physically.’

5 Diapason award Choc Classica award