Les Voix humaines

Les Voix humaines Viol Consort

In 2007 the duo was joined by Mélisande Corriveau and Felix Deak to form Les Voix humaines Consort of Viols to take a refreshing look at the huge repertoire for multiple viols.

Our unique, controversial ideas offer a new profile to consort playing in which rhythmic freedom and ornamentation play an integral role. Our 2017 recording of Dowland’s Lachrimae is an example of our novel way of approaching a piece considered untouchable canon amongst viol players!

 As well as the grand English consort repertoire, Bach’s Art of Fugue and the Purcell Fantasias, the Consort performs lesser known discoveries by Cima, Trabaci, Lupo, Moulinier and Charpentier to which we bring years of experience and experimentation as viol, recorder, fiddle and bass violinists!

 Roger North: With (viols) set to play the same lesson, if perfectly in tune with one another, it is better music when one goes a little before or behind the other than when they play (as they zealously affect) to touch together. For in that nothing is gott by the doubling, but a litle loudness; but in the other way, there is a certain “je ne scais quoi” with frequent dissonances and a pleasant seasoning obtained.

The consort has toured in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltic States and recorded Bach’s Art of Fugue, Purcell’s Fantasias, Dowland’s Lachrimae as well as their own, unusual arrangement or Vivaldi’s Quattro Stagioni for equal viols: 4 Seasons, 4 viols.

With colleagues Mélisande Corriveau and Felix Deak, Les Voix humaines Consort has been very active performing unusual programmes for viols including an arrangement of Vivaldi’s Quatro Staggione for four equal viols, Tobias Hume’s Poeticall Musicke and the works of Tomaso Lupo and Giovanni Trabaci. The consort has been touring Europe and North America for the past several years and has recorded classics such as Bach’s Art of Fugue and Purcell’s Fantasias. The next consort venture is a Scandinavian and Eastern European tour in 2017.

A little history :

  • « Doulce Mémoire » (English-Spanish program) : 10 performances for « Tournée dans l’île » (Conseil des arts de Montréal) from 2005 to 2007.
  • « Membra Jesu Nostri » by Buxtehude with Les Voix baroques and Vocalys, five concerts in 2007 – CD recording for ATMA – Goldberg 5 stars, Opus Award 2007.
  • The complete Purcell Fantasias, project supported by the CALQ (Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec). 8 instrumental concerts (amongst which the Orford Festival, Festival Montréal baroque, Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, and soon at the Poznan Baroque Festival in Poland) and 4 concerts in a version with soprano (Catherine Webster) in Western Canada and in Alma with the support of the CAC (Canada Arts Council) and the CALQ (amongst which Early Music Vancouver). ATMA CD recording – five Diapasons.
  • J. S. Bach’s The Art of the Fugue, project supported by the CAC. Concerts for Festival Montréal baroque, Festival de Sablé (CALQ), at the Poznan Baroque Festival in Poland (November 2013), at the Utrecht Festival (Holland) in 2016. ATMA CD recording.
  • Canzonas and Fugues by Giovanni Trabaci, project supported by the CAM. Two concerts, one of which for Festival Montréal baroque.
  • Fantasias for 3 to 6 viols by Thomas Lupo, project supported by the CAM.
  • 4 Seasons, 4 Viols : arrangements by Susie & Margaret of Vivaldi’s Quattro Stagioni. Over 12 performances across Quebec, and a concert at the Poznan Baroque Festival in Poland in November 2013. VH recording. Great touring program!

The Voix humaines Consort of Viols has also presented programs in collaboration with the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal (CD « Rise my Soul » – Classics Today 10/10), Clavecin en Concert, Ensemble Masques and has performed in programs with vocal soloists Matthew White, Daniel Taylor, Suzie LeBlanc and Catherine Webster.

Susie Napper, Felix Deak, Mélisande Corriveau and Margaret Little (photo: Tobias Haynes)