Five young women, all top-flight string players, united in a single voice, radiating temperamental sympathies and similarities, deceptive depths and a caustic sense of humour: this is the challenging vision of Smoking Joséphine, the 100% feminine ensemble dreamt up by violinist Geneviève Laurenceau as a ‘space for creativity and exploration’, to develop the sophisticated opulence of the string quintet.
The present album is the result of the special alchemy between Geneviève and her team - Olivia Hughes (violin), Marie Chilemme (viola), Hermine Horiot (cello) and Laurène Durantel Helstroffer (double bass), all acclaimed soloists in their own right, in orchestras and chamber ensembles.
This, their very first CD, they have dedicated to Love. The five artists embody this universal, timeless theme with their characteristic warmth of sound, generous lyricism and dynamic rhythmic pulse: their programme unfolds like a voyage with surprising discoveries en route, passing through many styles and periods and covering the full range, the many faces of this emotion that rules the heart.
We can thrill to the passionate love of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and Bernstein’s West Side Story, the tender romantic reveries of Liszt, Chopin, Kreisler and Elgar, the ghoulish love depicted by Saint-Saëns, the bewitched love of de Falla... This quintet, with its unconventional contrabass, has had each of its scores specially made to measure, in arrangements that are the last word in haute couture.