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Dawn Upshaw – Forgotten Songs (Dawn Upshaw Sings Debussy) [1997]

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Dawn Upshaw – Forgotten Songs (Dawn Upshaw Sings Debussy) [1997]

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1. Pantomime ("Pierrot qui n'a rien d'un Clitandre"), L. 31
2. En sourdine ("Calmes dans le demi-jour'), L. 28 (first version)
3. Mandoline ("Les donneurs de sérénades"), L. 29
4. Clair de lune ("Votre âme est un paysage choisi"), L. 32
5. Fantoches ("Scaramouche et Pulcinella"), L. 21
6. Coquetterie posthume ("Quand je mourrai, qu l'on me mette"), L. 39
7. Romance ("Silence ineffable de l'heure"), L. 43
8. Musique ("La lune se levait, pure, mais plus glacée"), L. 44
9. Paysage sentimental ("Le ciel d'hiver si doux, si triste, si dormant"), L. 45
10. Romance ("Voici que le printemps, ce fil léger d'avril"), L. 52
11. La Romance d'Ariel ("Au long ds ces montagnes douces"), L. 54
12. Regret ("Devant le ciel d'été, tiède et callme"), L. 55
13. Ariettes oubliées (6), L. 60 No.1: C'est l'extase langoureuse
14. Ariettes oubliées (6), L. 60 No.2: il pleure dans mon coeur
15. Ariettes oubliées (6), L. 60 No.3: L'ombre des arbes
16. Ariettes oubliées (6), L. 60 No.4 Chevaux de bois
17. Ariettes oubliées (6), L. 60 No.5: Green
18. Ariettes oubliées (6), L. 60 No.6: Spleen
19. Poèmes (5) de Baudelaire, L. 64 No.1: le Balcon
20. Poèmes (5) de Baudelaire, L. 64 No.2: Harmonie du soir
21. Poèmes (5) de Baudelaire, L. 64 No.3: le Jet d'eau
22. Poèmes (5) de Baudelaire, L. 64 No.4: Recueillement
23. Poèmes (5) de Baudelaire, L. 64 No.5: la Mort des amants

Dawn Upshaw - soprano
James Levine – piano

 

Full marks to Dawn Upshaw for reviving these forgotten songs. It is this beautiful recording, featuring Upshaw in her prime, which inspired me to reopen my long-forgotten scores of the Debussy mélodies, which I'd studied decades ago and only ever heard performed on disc by a past generation of singers such as Suzanne Danco and Maggie Teyte, whose recordings can now sound somewhat one-dimensional and appear stylistically dated. This recording, in a warm and spacious acoustic, not only gives the songs new colour but makes them seem much more contemporary. The digital sound does full justice to the lovely harmonic treatments of the piano parts, excellently played here.

There are now several recordings by contemporary French vocalists, but they tend to be rather characterless and mundane, as if French song is all in a day's work for them (which it probably is!). The notes and diction may be more perfectly rendered by the French interpreters, but for me, their versions are nowhere near as expressive as Upshaw's. In this recording, the warmth of her personality and, more importantly, her love of this music, shine through and bring out the sheer beauty of these songs. ---C. Orde, amazon.com

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Last Updated (Tuesday, 22 October 2013 15:11)

 

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