Les Rois-Mages »
« The Three Magi »
Duration : 60 minutes
« Musical Hours in Perigord » Society, in connexion with the
Ministry of Culture, for some years commissioned several pieces of musical
The basic aim was to put together local non-professional choirs with professional
musicians : instrumentalists mostly recruted among teachers of the french
South-West conservatories, and internationally famous operatic singers.
It was here the matter of an oratorio composed on a libretto by Vincent
plot follows the evangelical tradition : Herod, getting ready to celebrate
the Solstice Festival, is informed of the birth of a child-god by three
kings who are going their way under a stars leadership. He makes
the kings promise to relate everything on their way back. The Holy Innocentsmassacre
concludes Herods anger due to the kings retraction. Vincent
Fournier treated of this subject on a rather theatrical way, casting Herod
(Jacques Bona) and the Three Magi (Robert Dumé, Louis Hagen-William,
Jean-Christophe Benoît) for the main parts. The scenes take place
alternately in the outskirts of Jerusalem, in Herods palace, by
night, in Bethlehem, on the road ...
In the drama the choir is the psychological core for observation, commentary
and action. The scenes are short but very illustrative and are organized
in a dramatical progression which culminates in a march, musically illustrated
by a long and mysterious vocalized melody of the Star (the sublime Christiane
Eda-Pierre). This superb sequence leads to the worship of the struck of
admiration Magi. Everything is straight and efficient, moving above all,
like the angels song that one could believe composed for a boys
voice, in fact confided to Françoise Pilleboues blank voice,
prompting the Magi not to yield to Herods injunctions.
Édith Lejet was very careful to the prosody and the choirs
writing, always direct and effective.
Opéra International, march 1990
of an extract from a letter written on 19 may 1990 by Gérard Condé
(music critic of the newspaper « Le Monde ») :
... With pleasure I remark again the neatness of the writing, without
dryness, the taste for and the sense of what is essential, a certain delicacy
in violence, which emaciates it instead of inflating, a certain lyricism
of very simple things, that already struck me in other works of yours
that I have had the opportunity of listening to.
Moreover it is always vocally well written, which is not common nowadays.