Review - Soir, dit-elle

Artist: Trio Mediaeval

Soir, dit-elle
Label: ECM
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Soir, dit-elle

Producer John Potter refers to the temporal space in which the music of Trio Mediaeval exists as "a timeless present," and a more accurate assessment would be hard to come by. By dint of its very construct, the Trio's second album sounds "ancient" -- three ladies possessed of enormous vocal talent performing music directly from and indirectly inspired by sacred music from half a century ago. However, the sheer angelic quality of their voices is so transcendent, it easily sloughs off the historical connotations of a piece like "Alma Redemptoris Mater" (written in the 14th century by Leonel Power). Further, the original compositions (by Gavin Bryars, Andrew Smith and others) are informed both by the structure in which they're working and the vocal ability of the group for whom they're composing, teetering quite effortlessly between then and now. What ultimately makes "Soir, dit-elle" such a remarkable disc was the decision to seamlessly weave segments of the newer pieces within and around the older compositions. That graceful bit of sequencing is what defines that "timeless present" as one in which the ethereal prowess of the vocalists is the only guidepost worth minding.