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Francesco Paolo TOSTI (1846–1916)
The Song of a Life - Volume 3
Delphine Da Pontello, Daniela Mazzucato, Giulia De Blasis (soprano)
Max René Cosotti, Alessandro Luciano (tenor), Marco Severin (baritone)
Isabella Crisante, Marco Scolastra, Marco Moresco (piano)
rec. 2016/17
Sung texts available online
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95431 [4 CDs: 268:01]

A little more than two years ago I reviewed the first volume in this series, which eventually will encompass every song that Tosti published, i.e. more than 400. Here now is volume three, which means I’ve missed the second volume. We are now in the 1890s and early 20th century and the melodic invention is on a high level, even though Tosti, like most mega productive composers, sometimes resorts to standard phrases. But it is all done with charm and elegance, and a “normal” listener should never listen to four well-filled CDs in just one or two sittings, which a reviewer sometimes has to do. About the first volume I had some reservations concerning some of the singing. In the present volume the standard is much higher. I was immediately struck by baritone Marco Severin’s beautiful voice, mellifluous, elegant, light and with beautiful half-voice on the first CD. He shares the disc with the excellent soprano Delphine Da Pontello, a beautiful voice too though sometimes her vibrato is a little too wide. Both singers are very careful over nuances, which is exactly what these songs need. Far too often they have been bawled to pieces by insensitive tenors with leather lungs. Both singers also appear on CD 2 but there, I’m afraid, Marco Severin isn’t in best shape. The tone is grittier and more strained. That disc was recorded just a week later than the first but he may have had a cold or something that afflicted his voice. Delphine Da Pontello is fortunately as fresh as before. On the third disc we encounter two better known singers, soprano Daniela Mazzucato and tenor Max René Cosotti, both with excellent voices and also delivering finely nuanced readings. Giulia De Blasis and Alessandro Luciano on the last disc are also in the same league. Luciano sings the best known song in this volume, La mia canzone! (CD 4 tr. 12) very well. His voice may not be the most ingratiating but he sings a honeyed pianissimo that should make every listener melt.

There are in all 80 songs here, and though not everyone is a true masterpiece they are attractive when listened to in suitable helpings – provided you have a sweet tooth. My own sweet tooth was particularly attracted by the well-known Mattinata (CD 1 tr. 7) – not to be mixed up with Leoncavallo’s even better-known song with the same title. May-Time (CD 1 tr. 12) is also one to return to, and Povera Maria! (CD 1 tr. 21) with its perpetual motion accompaniment stands out.

On CD 2 Les filles de Cadix (tr. 2) is charming and the text by Alfred de Musset is the same that Leo Delibes also set a couple of years before Tosti. Rêve (tr. 16) to a Verlaine text is also one for the shortlist, as is the waltz Falling Leaves (tr. 20).

On CD 3 I had to press the repeat button for Chanson de l’adieu (tr. 8) and Malgré moi (tr. 11), a setting of Jules Barbier, who wrote the librettos for Gounod’s Faust and Romeo et Juliet and a lot more. On CD 4 I ticked off several songs: If (tr. 3), Rose d’automne (tr. 8), La mia canzone! (tr. 12) and Vos yeux (tr. 17). I’m sure every reader who invests in this budget price box will find other songs that are to their liking.

Göran Forsling
Contents and details
CD 1 [62:38]
1. A sera …, vogata (1883) CS52 [3:07]
2. Sleep, and Remembered, Beloved (1894) CS152B [3:39]
3. Barcarolle (1895) CS152C [3:23]
4. My Darling (1895) CS152D [3:54]
5. Love’s Return (1895) CS153 [2:52]
6. Lamento d’amore: perché ti deggio amar (1875) CS154 [3:36]

“A Greyswood” quattro melodie (1895) CS155
7. I. Mattinata [2:49]
8. II. Sonnet [3:26]
9. III. Zitta! [2:24]
10. IV. Vecchio Stornello [1:42]

11. Because of You (1895) CS156 [4:19]
12. May-Time (1895) CS157 [3:06]

“Mélodies” (1896) CS158
13. I. Mon bien aimé! CS158.1 [3:16]
14. II. Petite valse romantique CS158.2 [3:01]
15. III. Avec toi CS158.3 [2:14]
16. IV. L’extase CS158.4 [3:43]
I. Connaissez-vous CS158.4.1
17. II. Debout encore, muet CS158.4.2 [2:15]
18. III. Lorsqu’en mes bras CS158.4.3 [2:25]

19. Petite Noël (1896) CS158B [1:09]
20. Who Knows? (1897) CS159 [2:35]
21. Povera Maria! (1897) CS160 [3:31]
Delphine Da Pontello (soprano), Marco Severin (baritone), Isabella Crisante (piano)

CD 2 [78:02]
1. Te souviens-tu? (1891) CS111 [5:33]
2. Les filles de Cadix (1890) CS112 [7:31]
3. Why Beatest So, O Heart? (1892) CS136 [5:06]
4. Let love Awake (1892) CS137 [3:11]
5. Two (1892) CS139 [3:19]
6. Addio, fanciulla… (1893) CS140 [2:20]
7. Petite serenade (1891) CS122 [2:45]
8. Demain!(1891) CS123 [1:44]
9. Retournelle (1891) CS127 [3:55]
10. Suzon (1892) CS132 [4:22]
11. Bonjour, Suzon! (1893) CS141 [2:38]
12. Canta! (1893) CS142 [4:10]
13. My Dreams (1893) CS143 [3:34]
14. On Lido Waters (1893) CS144 [3:24]
15. Song of a Rose (1893) CS145 [4:33]
16. Rêve (1893) CS146 [3:10]
17. Strana (1893) CS147 [3:36]
18. Te solo (1893) CS148 [3:06]
19. A Song of Rest (1894) CS151 [4:58]
20. Falling Leaves (1894) CS152 [4:56]
Delphine Da Pontello (soprano), Marco Severin (baritone), Isabella Crisante (piano)

CD 3 [50:19]
1. Ancora (1897) CS161[4:32]
2. Le rose che mi desti (1897) CS162 [3:07]
3. Se avessi l’ale! (1897) CS163 [2:37]
4. Senza l’amore! (1897) CS164 [2:29]
5. Ohè! Mamma! (1897) CS165 [2:27]
6. Invano! (1898) CS168 [2:27]

Deux chansons CS171
7. Chanson de Barberine (1898) CS171.1 [2:36]
8. Chanson de l’adieu (1898) CS171.2 [2:21]

9. Amour! Amour! (1899) CS172 [2:42]
10. Infidélité (1899) CS173 [2:46]
11. Malfré moi (1899) CS174 [2:14]
12. Solo! (1899) CS175 [2:30]
13. Parted (1899) CS176 [2:52]

Per Lei (1900) CS177
14. Io ricordo, madonna, quella sera [2:25]
15. E come i maggi vengon per le rose [1:34]
16. Dalla pioggia le foglie ancor bagnate [2:19]
17. Io vi vorrei veder tutta baciata [2:24]
18. Ed ecco il sogno [3:05]

19. Aimez quand on vous aime! (1898) CS167 [2:18]
Daniela Mazzucato (soprano), Max René Cosotti (tenor), Marco Scolastra (piano)

CD 4 [77:02]
1. Speak! (1898) CS166 [3:50]
2. The Silver Lining (1898) CS166B [3:24]
3. If (1898) CS166C [3:30]
4. Love me To-Day (1898) CS166D [4:38]
5. Spring (1898) CS170 [3:30]
6. Regret (1898) CS178 [2:38]
7. Far away (1898) CS178B [2:25]
8. Rose d’automne (1898) CS179 [6:04]
9. Fede (1898) CS180 [5:50]
10. Serenata allegra (1898) CS181 [2:27]
11. Novembre (1901) CS182 [4:26]
12. La mia canzone! (1902) CS183 [3:56]
13. Chi sa! (1902) CS184 [5:13]
14. Inverno triste! (1902) CS185 [4:12]
15. Parting Time CS185B [2:22]
16. Non m’amate più (1902) CS186 [3:37]
17. Vos yeux (1902) CS187 [2:31]
18. Mon coeur qui t’aime! (1902) CS188 [3:08]
19. Pierrot’s Lament (1902) CS189 [3:38]
20. Non chiedermi se t’amo (1902) CS190 [4:54]
Giulia De Blasis (soprano), Alessandro Luciano (tenor), Marco Moresco (piano)
Rec 22-24 August 2016 (CD 1), 1-3 September 2016 (CD 2), 13-15 July 2017 (CD 3), 26-28 July 2017 (CD 4) at Theatro Clitunno, Trevi (Perugia), Italy

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