Aureole etc.




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If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725)
Le Violette (1694) [2.26]
Giovanni PERGOLESI (1710-1736)

A Serpina pencerete from La Serva Padrona [5.38]*
Confusa, smarrita from Catone in Utica [3.31]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Das Traumbild K530 (1787) [6.27]
Die kleine Spinnerin K531 (1787) [1.50]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)

Auf Flügeln des Gesanges Op.34 No.2 (1835) [2.38]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)

The Handsome Lad Op.74 No.8 [2.31]
Lithuanian Song Op 74 No.16 [2.28]
Dumka [1.18]
The Warrior Op.74 No.10 [2.35]
Stanislaw MONIUSZKO (1819-1872)

The Little Fish [1.37]
The Spinning Girl [1.33]
Stanislaw NIEWIADOMSKI (1859-1936)

Indele and Mendele [2.30]
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)

Ständchen Op.17 No.2 [2.20]
Morgen Op.27 No.4 (1894) [3.13]
Die Nacht Op.10 No.3 (1880) [2.31]
Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951)

Gigerlette – Cabaret Songs (1900) [2.14]
Der genügsame Liebhaber – Cabaret Songs (1900) [2.39]
Kurt WEILL (1900-1950)

Youkali – Cycle des Chansons Cabaretistiques (1934)[5.42]
Buddy on the Nightshift – Propaganda Songs No.5 (Songs for the War Effort) (1942) [3.09]
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)

Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 A.389 – Aria (Cantilena) [6.20]**
Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 A.389 – Martelo [4.36]**
Annette Celine (soprano)
Felicja Blumental (piano) except
Annette Celine (soprano)/Rome Radio Symphony Orchestra/Alberto Zedda *
Annette Celine (soprano)/eight cellos**
No recording dates or locations
BRANA BR0020 [69.41]

 

Annette Celine was born in Brazil and is the daughter of the distinguished Polish born pianist Felicja Blumental. Celine studied in Milan and has sung widely, making a number of recordings. I reviewed three of the most recently recorded recently on this site. The recording under consideration is undated and derives from a number of sessions dated, I’d guess, to the late 1960s and 1970s. Recording quality varies quite considerably.

The Scarlatti evergreen gets off to a rather bumpy start. Celine’s voice production is rather breathy and diction is none too clear. There’s also a lack of centre to the tone, which makes things rather uncontrolled and lacking in lightness and delicacy. Her first Pergolesi song is extracted from a complete recording of La Serva Padrona – this is the only example – with the Rome Radio Orchestra and Alberto Zedda. It dates, I assume, to the late 1960s. The recording quality varies from session to session, it must be said, and the Mozart examples tend to suffer from rather occluded sound and, for all her confidence, I do find certain aspects of her vibrato problematic. Her Polish songs fare rather better; they’re warmly characterised despite the limitations of the original recordings. Blumental’s accompaniment sounds very boxy and dulled in this acoustic but though Celine tends to hardness in, say, The Warrior, she is certainly engaged, for all that there is a want of real colour and flexibility in the voice.

Strauss Ständchen isn’t optimally floated and does get rather effortful towards the top of Celine’s compass but it’s welcome to hear the Schoenberg songs and the two Weill settings, the second of which is in English. There’s a pleasing swagger here. But the best performances are reserved for last where she is accompanied by eight cellos in the Villa-Lobos. They suit her voice well and her voice sits comfortably here, as it didn’t really in Scarlatti or Strauss.

Given the vagaries of the 1960s and 70s recordings and also some unconvincing performances a recommendation is partial at best. It’s certainly pleasurable to hear Blumental in her unusual role (on disc at least) as an accompanist. And Celine does some things well. A mixed bag.

Jonathan Woolf




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