La Main Harmonique
La Main Harmonique is an ensemble specialized in Renaissance polyphonies, whose ambition is to imagine matches with contemporary artistic creation
Frédéric Bétous and the musicians and singers of La Main Harmonique were driven together and have been working since then around a common idea: to share and revive the delicate and clever beauty of Renaissance music whilst opening new ways towards it in today’s listening habits. In order to reach this ideal, La Main Harmonique stand firmly in present times by regularly commissioning and performing new compositions with period instruments together with pieces from the Early music repertoire – thus earning international acclaim for the quality of their programmes and the excellence of their interpretations (Diapason, Classica etc).
The ensemble’s name refers to the « guidonian hand », a medieval mnemonic device to assist singers in learning to sight-sing. This dates back to Brother Guido d’Arezzo, the 11th-century music theorist who designed it: each portion of the hand represents a specific note within the hexachord system. In teaching, an instructor would indicate a series of notes by pointing to them with their right index on their left hand, and the students would sing them. The guidonian hand was still in use during Renaissance times for teaching solmisation (sung solfège).
Frédéric Bétous has been in demand for years as a countertenor and performed with a number of prestigious ensemble such as Les Éléments, Ensemble Jacques Moderne (Joël Suhubiette), Le Concert Spirituel (Hervé Niquet), Solistes XXI (Rachid Saphir), Diabolus in Musica (Anthoine Guerber), Huelgas Ensemble (Paul Van Nevel), etc.
To him La Main Harmonique is the key to his passion for polyphony and the rediscovery of European Renaissance masterpieces. In the summer of 2011 he launched “Musique en chemin”, a festival whose venues are spread along the Saint James’ Way (Chemin de Compostelle) in the Gers department in the southwest of France.