Our Programs and Our CreationsMéditerranée sacrée

Méditerranée sacrée



"With les éléments, for the past few years, I have sought to create programs in which early and contemporary music rub shoulders. Organized around a conceptual or geographical theme, the programs allow me to combine the “great repertoire” and new discoveries.  But why the theme of the Sacred Mediterranean? The subject is vast, and a path had to be chosen, taking into account questions of tuning and temperament. More profound, I believe, was a desire to go and draw from the roots of our culture, and the conviction of belonging to the “South” of Europe through my upbringing, my place of life and my personality. When I was quite young, I was attracted to Spain, and later travelled in Greece, Italy, then Israel, North Africa and Lebanon.

The main idea was to present works sung in the ancient languages of the Mediterranean basin. Latin was an obvious choice, as well as Hebrew, ancient Greek, Arabic and Syriac, the written language closest to Aramaic. Firstly, I excluded Byzantine monodies and traditional Arab music since the choir, as interpreters of “Western” music, was not going to find its place in that universe.

I first of all chose works from the “early” repertoire of our Christian Latin civilization. Gesualdo’s Tenebrae Responsoria, Victoria’s O vos omnes, and Lotti’s Crucifixus quickly presented themselves as masterpieces of polyphony from the Renaissance and the beginning of the Baroque era. The works in Hebrew by Salomone Rossi, a contemporary of Monteverdi at Mantua, were written to introduce polyphony in the synagogue, also have their place in this corpus.

For the ancient Greek and Arabic, it seemed obvious to me that we had to resort to contemporary composers. Alexandros Markeas chose to write a sacred piece based on Euripides’ Bacchantes. Zad Moultaka proposed Lama Sabaqtani, the Seven Last Words of Christ in Syriac. At the time of recording, since the programme lacked a piece in Arabic, Zad Moultaka added Mèn èntè, on a mystical poem by Husayn Mansour Hallâj. He thereby responded, in his own way, to the requirement of including monody in this Mediterranean itinerary. We find it again in Giacinto Scelsi’s surprising Ave Maria, in some of the verses of Rossi’s Kaddish, and, treated in canon, in the O Virgo splendens from the Llibre vermell de Montserrat, the oldest piece on the disc.


Given more than thirty times in concert, recorded by radio and television, this program has continued to evolve, refining itself over time to achieve a point of equilibrium and maturity."

Joël Suhubiette


Les Éléments boasts strength and beauty (…) A fabulous performance, a historical re-enactment of which the soul and essence are the human voice in all its humble deprivation and astounding power.” E. Davidian - L’Orient, Le Jour – Beyrouth – Méditerranée sacrée


Chamber choir les éléments | 18 singers | Direction Joël Suhubiette



Salomone Rossi (1570-1630) 

Barechu et Kaddish - in Hebrew and Aramaic


Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611)

"Lamentations pour le Samedi saint" - in latin

Jerusalem Convertere ad Dominum Deum Tuum 


Alma Redemptoris mater - in latin

O vos omnes - in latin


Zad Moultaka (1967)

*Mèn èntè (2010) - in Arabic on a text by Mensur al-Hallaj

For 5 male voices


**Then thèlo (2010) - in Greek on Psalm 137

For female voices


Alexandros Markeas (1965)

*Trois fragments des bacchantes (2009) - in ancient Greek based on texts by Euripides


Llibre Vermell de Montserrat (1370) (Catalogne)

O virgo splendes et Mariam Matrem - in latin


Carlo Gesualdo (1560-1613)

"Répons des ténèbres du samedi saint" - in latin

Jerusalem, surge et O vos omnes


Antonio Lotti (1665-1740)

Crucifixus - in latin

for 8 voices


Zad Moultaka (1967)

***Lama sabaqtani (2009) - in Aramaic


*Commissioned by the chamber choir les éléments
**Commissioned by Radio France
***Inspired by the "Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross" / Commissioned by Musique Nouvelle en Liberté

Next dates

22 June 2023 / 10H15 :