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Sound Samples & Downloads

Gardens of Spain
Joaquín NIN (1871-1949)
Cantos Populares Españoles*[8:53]
Hugo WOLF (1860-1903)
Spanisches Liederbuch* [11:00]
Georges BIZET (1838-1875)
Ouvre ton Coeur [2:35]
Léo DELIBES (1836-1891)
Les Filles de Cadix [3:32]
Kurt WEILL (1900-1950)
Je ne t'Aime Pas [4:42]
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Mädchenblumen, op.22 [10:15]
Malven, op.posth. [2:53]
Fernando OBRADORS (1897-1945)
Canciones Clásicas Españolas* [17:03]
Federico MORENO TORROBA (1891-1982)
La Vi Salir de Marbella [3:03]
* selections
Lyne Fortin (soprano)
Esther Gonthier (piano)
rec. McGill University, Montreal, 18-20 May 2010. DDD
ANALEKTA AN 29972 [63:56]

Experience Classicsonline



Canadian operatic soprano Lyne Fortin is well-known in her home country, but relatively unheard of in Europe - her own website does not give very much information about her, other than in a somewhat indigestible form. This is in fact Fortin's first appearance on this review site, and her third CD, all on Analekta, itself a Canadian label.

All the songs on this release are either by Spanish composers - Nin, Obradors, Torroba - or have a Spanish link, tenuous or otherwise. They may perhaps be best considered in language groups: Spanish, German and French. As a Francophone, Fortin is obviously most natural performing in French, from the light-hearted Les Filles de Cadix ('The Daughters of Cádiz'), one of Léo Delibes' most popular songs, to Kurt Weill's Je ne t'Aime Pas, which dates from 1934, shortly after Weill had left Germany for Paris - a stand-alone song commissioned by and written for the cabaret soprano Lys Gauty, to Maurice Magre's text. It is part cabaret, part art song, melancholy and moving, a self-preservational denial of love, and sung with great feeling by Fortin. The third French song is Georges Bizet's popular Ouvre ton Coeur, which, though the CD booklet notes do not even mention it, comes from his unsuccessful 'ode-symphonie' Vasco de Gama, written in 1860, and published posthumously. It is a boléro with a Spanish flavour that is as slight as the poetry by Louis Delâtre, but it is an infectious, cheery love song, and Fortin does it justice.

The four Cantos Populares Españoles by Cuban-born composer Joaquín Nin (or Nin y Castellanos, as he is sometimes known, to distinguish him from his son Joaquín Nin-Culmell) come from his set of twenty published in 1923. Short but atmospheric, particularly the languid beauty of 'Asturiana', they are fairly similar to the five slightly more substantial Canciones Clásicas Españolas, which constitute Volume II of Catalan composer Ferran (or Fernando) Obradors' four-volume cycle, consisting of 23 songs altogether. These are songs of Catalan origin, though sung in Castilian - full of essentially Spanish colour and rhythms either way. Fortin performs both sets of songs with the flair and enthusiasm of a native, and almost the same linguistic skills. The final Spanish song comes from Federico Moreno Torroba, who is best known for his guitar works and zarzuelas. The flamenco-inflected La Vi Salir de Marbella ('I Saw Her Leave Marbella') presumably comes from one of the zarzuelas - the booklet is silent on the matter.

Turning to the German-language songs, Mädchenblumen ('Maiden Flowers'), four Felix Dahn songs by Richard Strauss, will be familiar to many. Written between 1886 and 1888, they are a young man's homage to youthful desires. Malven almost sounds like an extension to the cycle, albeit with bolder harmonies. In fact it was written six decades later in 1948, Strauss's very last song - the unofficial Fifth, as it were. It was dedicated by Strauss to Maria Jeritza, a soprano who had pleased him in many leading roles in his operas, and it was only rediscovered among her effects when she died in 1982, and not premiered until 1985. It is altogether less demanding than the last Last Song, Im Abendroth, but nevertheless attractively lyrical. Fortin's German pronunciation is not quite as good as her Spanish, but she sings these bright songs in an appropriately insouciant manner. With her selection from Hugo Wolf's Spanisches Liederbuch, Fortin is following in the steps of every lieder singer worth their salt, and acquits herself very nicely, with Esther Gonthier a reliable, thoughtful accompanist - as indeed she is throughout the recital.

Sound quality is excellent. The booklet is a collectors' item in that it contains no photos of the soloists - in fact, no photos at all: refreshing. Unfortunately, and rather unforgivably, the booklet does not supply any lyrics - this is particularly regrettable in the case of the song cycles by Nin and Obradors, as this is likely to be many people's first exposure to them.

As an extra incentive - if the quality of the songs, excellent singing and first-class pianism are not enough - the CD includes a generous voucher entitling the purchaser to a free download in mp3 or FLAC format worth $9.99 from Analekta's website.

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