Mirages - Mélodies Gabriel FAURÉ (1845–1924) L’Horizon Chimérique (Jean de la Ville
Mirremont) Op. 118 (1921)
1. La me rest infinite [1:33]
2. Je me suis embarqué [2:25]
3. Diane, Séléné [2:21]
4. Vaisseaux, nous vous aurons aimés [2:04] Poême d’un jour (Charles Grandmougin) Op.
5. Rencontre [2:04]
6. Toujours [1:15]
7. Adieu [2:33] Francis POULENC (1899–1963) Tel jour telle nuit(Paul Eluard)(1936-37)
8. Bonne journée [2:29]
9. Une ruine coquille vide [2:09]
10. Drapeau perdu [1:05]
11. Une roulette couverte en tuiles [1:09]
12. A toutes brides [0:41]
13. Une herbe pauvre [1:48] 14. Je n’ai envie que de t’aimer [0:57]
15. Figure de force [1:37]
16. Nous avons fait la nuit [3:23] Chansons villageoises (Maurice Fombeure)
17. Chansons du clair tamis [0:52]
18. Les gars qui vont à la fête [1:29]
19. C’est le joli printemps [2:46]
20. Le mendicant [3:40]
21. Chanson de la fille frivole [0:48]
22. Le retour du sergent [1:44] La Fraicheur et le Feu (Paul Eluard) FP
23. Rayon des yeux [1:11]
24. Le matin les branches attisent [0:44]
25. Tout disparut [1:45]
26. Dans les ténébres du jardin [0:28]
27. Unis la fraicheur et le feu [1:23]
28. Homme au sourire tendre [1:44]
29. La grande rivière qui va [0:58] Gabriel FAURÉ Mirages (Baronne Antoine de Brimont) Op.
30. Cygne sur l’eau [3:30]
31. Reflets dans l’eau [4:29]
32. Jardin nocturne [2:53]
33. Danseuse [2:08]
(baritone); Malcolm Martineau (piano)
rec. June 2008, Akademiezaal St. Truiden, Belgium. ADD
Texts and English translations enclosed ETCETERA KTC1366 [62:04]
Poulenc were two of the most important French song composers
but they had very little in common. Poulenc even said that
for him Fauré’s music was almost physically unbearable.
While Fauré was no barnstormer Poulenc was exactly that,
member of the avant-garde group Les Six and a lot of his
early music is irreverent and ironic. But he had a serious
side as well and his choral music is often deeply felt.
Most of the songs on this disc are also in that vein, though
they are far from introverted. This also goes for the Fauré songs,
even though Mirages shows him at his most inward,
sparing and dreamy. Together they form a marvellous hour
of some of the best, but rather unhackneyed, French songs
predominantly from the last century.
is one reason to buy this disc but an even greater reason
is the way the songs are performed. I was astonished from
the very first bars of the first song and this impression
remained all through the programme. On this hearing Thomas
Oliemans stands out as the best singer of Mélodies since
Gérard Souzay. He has a timbre that isn’t unlike the older
master’s and he has all the means of expression to make
these songs come alive. He possesses the lightness of the
traditional baryton-martin but his is a true baritone,
blackish in the deeper end of the register and with a brilliant
and powerful top. His soft singing is marvellously assured,
with beautiful pianissimos and a flexibility of voice colour
that allows him to express all the nuances of this music.
demonstrates all this in Diane, Séléné (tr. 3). Toujours (tr.
6) is impressively intense while the next track Adieu is
so beautifully caressing. His rhythmic acuity is put to
test in Poulenc’s Drapeau perdu (tr. 10) and the
first two songs of Chansons villageoises (trs. 17-18)
and he negotiates the intricacies effortlessly. His sense
of line phrase is unerring and he is a convincing communicator
and story-teller. Just listen to track 20, where he draws
a lively portrait of Jean Martin, the beggar. Oliemans
is Dutch but his French seems impeccable, which is a necessity
in this repertoire. In every respect he is the natural
heir to Souzay – and we have been waiting for quite some
time for someone to fill the vacuum his death created.
Souzay recorded all the Fauré cycles on this disc but unfortunately
I didn’t have access to his recordings. Having admired
him since I first found my way to Lieder and Mélodies in
the 1960s I can anyway hear his characteristic voice and
inflexions in my mind’s ear. Thomas Oliemans is cut out
to pass on that treasured tradition.
name Malcolm Martineau as accompanist has for many years
been synonymous with unerring precision and flexibility.
To carry the parallel with Souzay one step further, he
can be regarded as the Dalton Baldwin of the present century.
His contribution to this disc is invaluable.
have intentionally focused on the singer rather than the
repertoire, fascinating though it is. And for good reason,
since I am convinced that this is a Lieder and Mélodies
artist of rare talent. I would urge readers with an interest
in singing to invest in this issue. Besides readings of
immense insight and vocal excellence you will get wonderful
songs that are likely to be lifelong favourites in the
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