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DCD34269-CD

Héloïse Werner: Phrases

GLOBAL RELEASE DATE: 24 JUNE 2022

Luminous and daring, this celebration of Héloïse Werner’s multifaceted gifts is nourished by rich dualities. Phrases reveals Werner as both singer and composer, as an artist shaped by both her native France and her adopted UK, and as a soloist of captivating individuality who is also an intrepid collaborator.

The solos and duos that make up the album comprise five of Werner’s own compositions, four of Georges Aperghis’s avant-garde classic Récitations, and six newly commissioned works, by composers ranging from Elaine Mitchener and Nico Muhly to Oliver Leith. The calibre of Héloïse’s instrumental partners in the duos reflects the degree to which this extraordinary young performer is already valued and cherished by her peers.

Release Date: 24 June 2022
Catalogue No: DCD34269
Total playing time: 1:03:44
 
Recorded on 5-7 October 2021 at the Church of St John the
Evangelist/SJE Arts, Oxford
Producer/Engineer: Paul Baxter (tracks 1-13); Brett Cox (track 14)
24-bit digital editing: Jack Davis
24-bit digital mastering: Paul Baxter

Design: Drew Padrutt
Booklet editor: Henry Howard
Cover photograph: Raphaël Neal
Session photography: foxbrushfilms.com

'The point where language and music collide is an abiding preoccupation for the French-born, London-based Héloïse Werner, whose new solo album, Phrases displays her versatility as a singer and composer, but as musical catalyst too. The 12 tracks, mostly premiere recordings, include works by Elaine Mitchener (the sensuously surreal Whetdreem); Nico Muhly’s prayer-like Benedicite Recitation, with beautiful solo flute; Oliver Leith’s Yhyhyhyhyh, an exploration between voice and detuned cello; Cheryl Frances-Hoad’s tiny scena Something More Than mortal; and Josephine Stephenson’s hypnotic Comme l’espoir/you might all disappear, with guitar ... Werner’s four songs, from vocal acrobatics to verbal confession, and Récitations by the Greek experimental composer Georges Aperghis complete this distinctive album. Werner is joined by her first-rate regular collaborators: Colin Alexander (cello), Amy Harman (bassoon), Calum Huggan (percussion), Lawrence Power (viola), Daniel Shao (flute) and Laura Snowden (guitar)'

"Werner has a versatility that is rare today; her clear resonance with the music of our time, her faultless technique, her laser focus and her presence all imply that soon she will be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of fellow singers, Cathy Berberian, Phyllis Bryn-Julson and Jane Manning ... A prime contender for the definition of new music madness, Mitchener’s piece was at once hugely enjoyable and fully in the spirit of the occasion; Calum Huggan the intrepid percussionist ..."With a programme without a single dud piece and Héloïse Werner – a performer of stellar talent – supported by a galaxy of young stars, what’s not to like?

SEEN & HEARD INTERNATIONAL

on Phrases' launch concert at Wigmore Hall

'lt is hard not to be in awe of Héloise Werner: a soprano of extraordinary range, tone and vocal abilities, possessing a seemingly inexhaustible expressive range, whether singing, speaking or - as in Elaine Mitchener's curious, nightmarish, baffling whetdreem - sighing, moaning, and is that snoring at one point? ... Werner is a composer and arranger of subtle imagination ...It is Werner's own pieces that I will come back to most often: Mixed Phrases, Unspecified Intentions and especially the opening track for voice and bassoon, Like Words, with the terrific Amy Harman as her partner. It sounds like a medieval chanson the identity of which, maddeningly, remains just out of reach. Delphian's sound is first-rate, catching the full dynamic range and every nuance of Werner's voice ...'


EDITOR'S CHOICE JUNE 2022


Singing In Secret: Clandestine Catholic Music by William Byrd CD Delphian Records

PREVIEW

Comme l'espoiryou might all disappear

Gramophone Magazine

Guy Rickards' Gramophone Magazine, review, chosen as June Editor's Choice by Editor Martin Cullingford

Werner records with Amy Harman in SJE Arts, Oxford image foxbrush.co.uk

lt is hard not to be in awe of Héloise Werner: a soprano of extraordinary range, tone and vocal abilities, possessing a seemingly inexhaustible expressive range, whether singing, speaking or - as in Elaine Mitchener's curious, nightmarish, baffling whetdreem - sighing, moaning, and is that snoring at one point? She is no mean vocal actress, either, as her rendition of Cheryl Frances-Hoad's Something More Than Mortal, based on fragments from Ada Lovelace's letters, attests. The comparisons with Cathy Berberian and Meredith Monk quoted in Delphian's booklet are no exaggeration; there is something of Janet Manning, too, in her astonishing facility for contemporary music - unsurprisingly, as Werner is a composer and arranger of subtle imagination.

Oh, and did I mention that she is a cellist as well? Her instrumental acumen is only evident using the cello as a percussion accompaniment in the vibrant Syncopate(composed with cellist Zoë Martlew), one of two brief extracts from her solo opera The Other Side of the Sea (the other track is Confessional, where she plays a crotale). In both pieces, wordplay- whether sung, spoken or half-sung - is the crucial element of the musical effect.

So, too, in the four Récitations by Georges Aperghis, from the set of 14 for solo female voice (1978). No 3 is purely verbal (alas, none of the texts for the Récitations are included in the booklet), No 8 an ostinato between repetitive spoken patterns and sung notes, fearures reversed in No 9 and explored further in No 11. The effect is mesmerising if exhausting. If Aperghis moves to me edge of music - Mitchener, arguably, beyond it- elsewhere there are less unconventional measures of Werner's interpretative range, from the euphonious -Josephine Stephenson's
Comme le'espoir/you might all disappear(beautifully accompanied by guitarist Laura Snowden) and Nico Muhly's Benedicitne Recitation (Daniel Shao the sensitive accompanying flautist), to Oliver Leith's discomforting and somewhat dreary study in repetition, yhyhyhyhyh. 

"Delphian's sound is first-rate, catching the full dynamic range and every nuance of Werner's voice"

It is Werner's own pieces that I will come back to most often, though: Mixed Phrases, Unspecified Intentions and especially the opening track for voice and bassoon, Like Words, with the terrific Amy Harman as her partner. It sounds like a medieval chanson the identity of which, maddeningly, remains just out of reach. Delphian's sound is first-rate, catching the full dynamic range and every nuance of Werner's voice ...'

Guy Rickards

This article originally appeared in the June 2022 issue of Gramophone.

Album Booklet

Featured interview

 

BBC Music Magazine on Héloïse Werner

"Héloïse Werner is a multi-faceted musician, rising up through the ranks of the classical music world as both a solo performer and as a member of The Hermes Experiment, a quartet specialising in contemporary repertoire...." begins September's BBC Music Magazine Interview.

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