Cloth of Gold 


For the concert programme, click here

Paragon Singers presents a history of French Chansons in a concert spanning 700 years; from the origins of the genre in the work of Guillaume Machaut, to the Parisian Chanson in the 16th century right through to 20th century interpretations by Debussy and Hindemith.  Alongside the vocal music, pianists from within the group perform Debussy's Petite Suite for piano duet throughout the programme.

Review by Anthony Corfe

I don’t think it was my imagination but there was a distinct feeling of delighted enjoyment amongst the large audience by the time of the interval. That’s how it felt anyway, after some wonderfully colourful singing. Conducted – I’d say inspired, actually - by Sarah Latto’s deft personal choreography, (generally without a scrap of music in front of her), the choir moved elegantly and joyfully through a programme that started with a finely tuned 14 th century single voice part ballade by Guillaume de Machaut extolling the pleasures of love. And from one piece to the next in this historically based and well-chosen programme of early French Chansons, harmonies and styles developed calling on increasing vocal skills, especially in Le Chant des Oiseaux by Clement Janequin. The richly harmonised texture of this sparkling piece with its crisp articulation was an absolute joy to listen to. It was here, I think, with its witty characterisations of individual types of bird song, that open hearted enjoyment really started to resonate between audience and choir.

And the evening progressed from one joy to another, sometimes with full choir, sometimes with quartets. But there was another treat. Interspersed amongst the choral pieces were the four movements of Debussy’s Petite Suite for four hands. These were distributed between different combinations of great talent from within the choir and the third movement, Menuet, led into Trois Chansons by Debussy. A lovely bit of programming.

I must not ignore one piece – Puisque vivre en servitude by Sandrin – where the choir sang with great sensitivity without conductor. Now that shows something about their mutual attentiveness and understanding of moods within a piece, and it was performed splendidly.

A truly marvellous, enriching and happy evening.

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Je ne cuit pas – Guillame de
Bon jour, bon mois Guillame Dufay
Prenez sur moi – Johannes
Petite Suite 1 En Bateau – Claude Debussy
Mille regretz – Josquin des Prez
Le Chant des Oyseaux – Clement
Puisque vivre en servitude Pierre Sandrin
La, la, la, je ne l’ose dire – Pierre Certon
Petite Suite 2 Cortège – Debussy
Margot labourez les vignes – Jacques Arcadelt
Susanne un jour – Orlande
de Lassus
Il est bel et bon – Pierre Passereau
Petite Suite 3 Menuet – Debussy
Trois Chansons – Debussy
1.  Dieu! qu’il la fait bon regarder
2.  Quant j’ai ouy le tabourin
3.  Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain
Petite Suite 4 Ballet
– Debussy
Six Chansons – Paul Hindemith
1.La biche
3.Puisque tout passe
5.En Hiver