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Phrases (Héloïse Werner)

Héloïse Werner (soprano), Daniel Shao (flute), Amy Harman (bassoon), Lawrence Power (violin, viola) et al (Delphian)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Works by Aperghis, Frances-Hoad, Leith, Mitchener, Muhly, Josephine Stephenson and Héloïse Werner
Héloïse Werner (soprano), Daniel Shao (flute), Amy Harman (bassoon), Lawrence Power (violin, viola), Colin Alexander (cello), Calum Huggan (percussion), Laura Snowden (guitar)
Delphian DCD34269   63:44 mins

Héloïse Werner here puts together a series of contemporary and linguistically experimental solo and duo works, both her own and by others, accompanied in turn by her excellent regular instrumental partners. Werner’s voice flits between natural directness and operatic expression, endlessly flexible, theatrical or intimate, whether in Josephine Stephenson’s lovely ‘Comme l’espoir/you might all disappear’, accompanie d by Laura Snowden’s expressive guitar, or the more academic rigours of Georges Aperghis’s solo Récitations, of which Werner performs four here, with an ear for word play and humour. Similar, too, is Zoë Martlew and Werner’s Syncopate, a rapid fire percussive performance poetry monologue that builds itself up into a decisive ‘NON NON NON!’ There is something almost liturgical about Werner’s Like Words, although it is a liturgy of human reasoning, and the notes soon slide off key against Amy Harman’s evocative, nuanced bassoon playing.

Most of these pieces rely on clear interplay between soprano and instrumentalist, brilliantly done yet sometimes with the feeling of a twisted vocal exercise or a 1960s art happening, and yet all encompass the moulding of the human voice, at which Werner is expert. Werner’s own

Confessional seems to plumb the polymorphism of the performer, but Werner pulls it off with dramatic expression, as she does the off-tone blandness of Oliver Leith’s yhyhyhyhyh.
Sarah Urwin Jones