One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Poèmes d’un jour
Stéphane Degout (baritone), Simon Lepper (piano)
rec. live, Théâtre de l’Athénée, Paris, 18 December 2017
No texts enclosed
B RECORDS LBM017 [71:00]

Almost exactly eight years ago I reviewed a recital of French melodies with Stéphane Degout, which I found very attractive. If he has issued further recitals since then I don’t know, but I was very happy when I saw his name on the latest wish-list. My expectations were high when the disc arrived and after playing just a few bars of Fauré’s Aurore I knew that my expectations wouldn’t come to nought. His voice has obviously filled out and become slightly darker – at least this was the initial impression. It is a powerful voice, but it is very flexible and he is able to express a wide pallet of moods and feelings. On his previous disc Fauré was conspicuous by his absence. This has now been rectified; he even got the honour to open the recital at the Théâtre de l’Athénée in Paris. And it is a still fairly young Fauré we encounter. He was in his early thirties and the inspiration flowed. And there are stark contrasts within the mini-cycle, which also lends its name to the whole programme. The agitated Toujours versus the soft and sensitive Adieu. Degout stresses the contrasts through his nuanced singing: highly dramatic in the former, restrained and meditative in the latter. One also notices expressive piano accompaniment by Simon Lepper. The opening song, Aurore, is somewhat later, composed in 1884, when Fauré was approaching 40.

The seven Brahms songs are more scattered time-wise. He composed Nicht mehr zu dir zu gehen and the often heard Die Mainacht when he was in his early to mid-thirties, while most of the others came about a decade later and Auf dem Kirchhofe belongs to his febrile period of song composing in the late 1880s, after which he only composed his ‘testament’: Vier ernste Gesänge. Degout’s German is correct but, as he says in the liner notes, he had to work with the pronunciation and it may be possible to sense that the words don’t come as naturally as when he sings in his mother-tongue. But these are excellent readings even so, and if I say that Die Mainacht and Feldeinsamkeit went straight to my heart, it means that of seven grains of gold those two were the most luminous.

Robert Schumann’s Kerner-Lieder were composed during that febrile song year 1840, when the composer was 30. They have tended to be overshadowed by Dichterliebe, the two Liederkreise and other masterpieces from that year, but in later years there has been a spate of new recordings so maybe the time has come for them somewhat belatedly. The 12 songs don’t constitute a cycle in the narrow sense of the word. There is no continuous story and the songs can be picked and performed 4-5 at a time and in whatever order. But they are as inspired as most of the other songs from that remarkable year, and Stéphane Degout sings them with deep insight and perfect vocal control. If I pick two songs as outstanding it’s only because they happen to be my personal favourites: Sehnsucht nach der Waldgegend and Auf das Trinkglas eines verstorbenen Freundes. The recording was made during a public concert and there is applause between the different groups of songs, but this only enhances the feeling of being present at the occasion. For the encore Degout returns to Brahms and the delicious Lerchengesang, which concludes a very attractive programme splendidly performed by singer and pianist alike. The only disappointment is the lack of song texts, but they can, on the other hand, easily be found on line.

Göran Forsling

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845 – 1924)
1. Aurore (Armand Sylvestre) [2:17]
Poèmes d’un jour (Charles Grandmougin)
2. Rencontre [2:15]
3. Toujours [1:20]
4. Adieu [2:16]
5. Automne (Armand Sylvestre) [3:12]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833 – 1897)
6. O kühler Wald, Op. 72 (1887) (Brentano) [2:00]
7. Die Mainacht, Op. 43 (1868) (Hölty) [3:20]
8. Auf dem Kirchhofe, Op. 105 (1889) (Detlev von Liliencron) [3:02]
9. Feldeinsamkeit, Op. 86 (1879) (Hermann von Allmers) [3:25]
10. Alte Liebe, Op. 72 (1877) (Candidus) [2:59]
11. Nicht mehr zu dir zu gehen, Op. 32 (1864) (Daumer) [2:14]
12. Willst du dass ich geh?, Op. 71 (1875) (Lemcke) [2:42]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810 – 1856)
Zwölf Gedichte, Op. 35 (1840) (Justinus Kerner)
13. Lust der Sturmnacht [1:40]
14. Stirb, Lieb‘ und Freud‘ [6:24]
15. Wanderlied [2:57]
16. Erstes Grün [2:45]
17. Sehnsucht nach der Waldgegend [2:41]
18. Auf das Trinkglas eines verstorbenen Freundes [3:56]
19. Wanderung [1:22]
20. Stille Liebe [4:05]
21. Frage [1:11]
22. Stille Tränen [3:31]
23. Wer machte dich so krank? [2:24]
24. Alte Laute [3:17]
Johannes BRAHMS
25. Lerchengesang, Op. 70 No. 2 (Candidus) [3:41]

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3