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Cavati • Dussaut: Mélodies

Adriana González (soprano), Iñaki Encina Oyón (piano) (Audax)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Songs by Dussaut & Covatti
Adriana González (soprano), Iñaki Encina Oyón (piano)
Audax ADX 13722   66:01 mins

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This is the debut album of the Guatemalan soprano Adriana González who won the Operalia First Prize in 2019. She has put together an imaginative and fascinating venture by collecting and recording for the first time all of the songs by two Paris-based composers you have probably never heard of (they do not have entries in the New Grove Dictionary of Music) – Robert Dussaut (1896–1969) and Hélène Covatti (1910-2005).

The Dussaut songs are more interesting with their complex allusions (glimpses of the habañera in L’Oracle, Ravel-like antiphonal tensions against the voice at the beginning of Chant de joie) and their more ambitious range of styles. González shows her vocal sensitivity towards harmonic colouring in these pieces (Adieux à l’étranger) though occasionally she is overly operatic, as in Quand le coeur s’éveille (described as ‘intimate’ in the liner notes), where she sometimes gives us climactic vocal effects without obvious causes. Perhaps, too, she could have made more of the characterisation in the one long narrative song, Les deux ménétriers, and in the two vocalise pieces there was some unsteadiness in her voice production. That said the works by Covatti bring out the best in González. She gives a touching and magical presentation of the lullaby Berceuse (based on a Greek folk song), nicely evokes the vivid remembered detail of Brittany in Marine and she enters into a captivating and lively dialogue with the accompaniment in Je t’ai dit oui – the pianist is always alert and responsive to the singer.

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Anthony Pryer