Gounod, Franck, Bizet, Fauré, Duparc, Ravel, Hahn, Satie
Anyone looking for an introduction to the mélodie could do a lot worse than starting with this charming collection from Yvonne Kenny and Malcolm Martineau. Traversing the highways, and a few byways, of French song from Gounod to Satie and Ravel, this collection presents several well known works without simply gorging on easy-listening favourites. True, like so many recitals, songs by the same composer huddle nervously together, rather than any attempt being made to explore the relationships between, say, Bizet’s Chanson d’avril and Duparc’s L’Invitation au voyage. Kenny is a fine exponent, at her best in the more reflective melodies such as Fauré’s Prison. If there is a mild reservation, it is that her voice occasionally grows a shade too big in the livelier songs, such as Fauré’s Nell. Martineau is typically masterly throughout, by turns following and leading Kenny with the kind of finely-judged timing that makes the accompanist’s art sound deceptively easy. With an eloquent booklet note and full texts, this recital is an attractive buy.