A FRENCH COLLECTION.
BIZET Ouvre son coeur.
CHABRIER L'île heureuse.
Chanson pour Jeanne. CHAUSSON
DEBUSSY Rêverie. Suite
bergamasque - Clair de lune. Danse (Tarantelle styrienne).
Préludes, Book 1 - La fille aux cheveux de lin.
Mandoline. FAURE Impromptu
No. 2 in F minor, Op. 31.
Où voulez-vous aller?. Viens, les gazons sont
La Cloche. SATIE Trois
Martyn Hill (tenor);
Graham Johnson, Albert Ferber (pianos).
Francophiles rejoice - Christmas has come early!. This is a gem of a CD.
Meridian has raided its vaults for a delightful selection of French song.
In his booklet notes, Graham Johnson (whose scholarly skills in this respect
for the Hyperion Schubert Edition have been much praised) expertly traces
the birth of the Mélodie. His accompaniments reveal a similar measure
Martyn Hill has a lightish, flexible tenor. His is a singer with a wide
repertoire ranging from baroque through to Shostakovich, Virgil Thomson and
Carter. He was Johnson's chosen singer for the Schöne
Müllerin in the aforementioned Schubert series (CDJ33010). Hill
responds acutely to the changing mood of the songs. Gounod's peaceful
Où voulez-vous aller? sits next to the pungent chromaticism
of Franck's Nocturne, for example.
Many songs are revelatory. Chabrier's L'île heureuse is
Spring-fresh, and his Chanson pour Jeanne is unbelievably tender.
Emile Paladilhe's Psyché is delicate, almost whispered, and
Gabriel Dupont's Mandoline is spirited and charming. Delibes also
contributes two winners: Regrets and the interestingly-textures
Albert Ferber's solo contributions provide perfect interludes (including
Debussy's fascinating Danse (Tarantelle stryrienne) and a satisfying
postlude: the Trois Gymnopédies, given all the delicacy in
the world and providing a tremendously relaxing end to the recital.
A very rewarding disc which should provide much pleasure. My only reservation
is that I felt the sound needed a little more body.
See also review by Peter G Woolf