Belle Epoque

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Elgar,Gardel,Leoncavallo and Denza,Morera,Puccini,Ravel,Satie,Schreker,Tagliaferri,Tosti,Zemlinsky
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: Songs and arias by Tagliaferri, Satie, Puccini, Zemlinsky, Schreker, Tosti, Gardel, Morera, Elgar, Ravel, Leoncavallo and Denza
PERFORMER: José Carreras (tenor), Lorenzo Bavaj (piano); Junge Philharmonie Wien/Michael Lessky
CATALOGUE NO: Sony 82876885232

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This short collection of superior café and drawing-room songs from the last decades of the 19th century and the first of the 20th has been stylishly arranged for orchestra and is deftly conducted.

Much of this music suits Carreras well. He sings with feeling and artistry and, as far as one can judge, his voice is in fair condition, with a firm tone. It’s hard to know for sure, because both tenor and orchestra are swallowed up in a glutinously reverberant acoustic and treatment thereof that hide any definition.

It’s a bit like being served a meal in a restaurant that has had sauce poured all over it and become invisible. The central event here the music itself – has got lost in its sonic packaging.

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The CD packaging concentrates on the visual and architectural achievements of the Belle Époque, which would be fine if there were room for something more substantial on the music. But there aren’t even texts for the songs, sung in four languages, let alone translations.