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Seen & Heard
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Joseph CANTELOUBE (1879–1957)
Chants d’Auvergne (selection) [23:19]
Triptyque (1914) [16:04]
Chants de France (selection) [17:35]
Orchestre National de Lille-Région Nord/Pas-de-Calais/Serge
rec. Auditorium du Nouveau Siècle, Lille, 6-9 January 2007
No texts included
Detailed track-listing at end of review
NAXOS 8.570338 [56:58]
Stokowski’s and Anna Moffo’s pioneering recording of selections
from Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne, these
beautiful folk-song arrangements have become part of many
sopranos’ repertoire. One can name Kiri Te Kanawa, Jill Gomez,
Frederica von Stade and others having had a go at these ravishing
works. Véronique Gens has already recorded a first volume
with the same orchestra conducted by Jean-Claude Casadesus
(Naxos 8.557491) favourably reviewed here
by Anne Ozorio.
spite of a varied output of chamber and orchestral music
also including an opera Le Mas, the composer
is now mainly known for his colourful, yet often subtle arrangements.
In fact, next to the now celebrated Chants d’Auvergne,
he also collected and arranged folk-songs from the Basque
country, some of which were recorded some time ago (on Audivis).
The present selection of nine folk songs, a few of which
are new to me, beautifully complements Gens’ first instalment.
What makes this release particularly worth having is the
inclusion of a selection from Les Chants
de France and, more importantly to my mind, that
of the fine Triptyque composed in 1914 but
first performed in 1925. In these settings of poems by Roger
Frêne, a poet unknown to me about whom I could not find any
useful information, Canteloube proves himself the heir of
the likes of Fauré, Duparc and Chausson. At the same time
he is attentive to the musical trends of his time: Debussy
and Ravel. There is much orchestral refinement in these fine
settings with more than a touch of Impressionism. I was particularly
impressed by the third song Hymne dans l’aurore. It
paints a strongly atmospheric evocation of the coming of
dawn crowned by a glowing sunrise.
de France, Canteloube continues his labour of
love with French folk-song and brings comparable subtlety
and refinement to bear. In much the same way as in Chants
d’Auvergne, the composer succeeds in wrapping
his arrangements in superb orchestral guise, while bringing
out some surprising and unexpected touches. Just try
the first song, the celebrated Auprès de ma blonde;
in which the composer eschews any mawkishness and vulgarity.
In the last one, D’où venez-vous fillette? Has
some salty rhythmic surprises in the accompaniment. The
other arrangements in this selection, likewise those
from Chants d’Auvergne, alternate touching
tenderness, mild sorrow and earthy humour. A most welcome
addition to the catalogue, although I wanted more of
them given the somewhat short total playing time of this
otherwise desirable release.
Gens sings beautifully throughout and shows a fine understanding
of the Auvergne dialect. I think I remember a recent interview
- was it in Gramophone? - in which she mentioned that
she had family roots in the Auvergne and that these folk-songs
meant a great deal to her. That certainly shows in her performances;
but she is equally and equally perfectly at ease with the
other works featured here.
Baudo is highly regarded for his sympathy with French music
of the first half of the 20th century and beyond.
Once again he proves a most reliable and inspired partner.
A pity, though, that the words of Triptyque could
not be printed in the insert notes, although Gens’ excellent
diction more than compensates.
La Pastrouletta e lou chibalie
(La Bergere et le Cavalier)
Lo Fiolaire (La Fileuse)
Pour L'enfant [02:56]
Chut, Chut [02:09]
Obal, din lo coumbelo (Au
- loin, la - bas dans la vallee) [05:18]
Postouro, se tu m'aymo (Bergere
si tu m'aimes) [01:30]
Te, l'co, Te! (Va, l'chien,
He! Beyla - z - y dau fe!
(He! donne - lui du foin!) [01:45]
No. 1. Offrande a l'été [05:10]
No. 2. Lunaire [04:00]
No. 3. Hymne dans l'aurore
Chants de France
Auprès de ma blonde [03:20]
Ou irai - je me plaindre?
Au pre de la rose [01:23]
Delicieuses cimes [03:29]
Reveillez - vous! [03:38]
D'ou venez - vous fillette?
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