Fauré Songs, Vol. 3: Mirages, Op. 113; plus Chant d’automne, Clair de lune, Le parfum impérissable etc
Lorna Anderson, Isobel Buchanan, Janis Kelly, Louise Kemény (soprano), Sarah Connolly, Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano), Iestyn Davies (countertenor), John Chest, William Dazeley, Thomas Oliemans (baritone), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Signum Classics SIGCD483 58:56 mins
The drawing room of Malcolm Martineau’s imaginary salon is becoming increasingly crowded. This latest volume of his complete survey of Fauré’s songs features no fewer than ten singers, generally taking turns. As before, the songs are presented in broadly chronological order, culminating in a cycle, in this case William Dazeley’s poignant account of the late Mirages. Isobel Buchanan, one of two singers new to the series, is stridently passionate in Chant d’automne, yet is all heartfelt warmth in the later Automne. The other newcomer, Louise Kemény, clearly has a fine voice, even if her intense vibrato is not entirely suited to Fauré’s restrained Ave Maria setting. Janis Kelly is engagingly fresh in Les Roses d’Ispahan, Iestyn Davies has a beautiful simplicity in ‘Ici-bas!’, John Chest brings a noble elegance to Tristesse d’Olympio and Sarah Connolly’s class shines through in Chanson, Op. 94. In a rare sequence from a single singer, Lorna Anderson displays outstanding control in a triptych reflecting wounded love. It concludes with Chanson de Mélisande, sung in English, reflecting the fact it was written for a London production of Maeterlinck’s play. Martineau is predictably outstanding throughout, with deft pacing and his finely-judged gradations of touch always lifting the voices. However, a few errors have crept into the booklet. In particular, Ann Murray’s ever-exquisite voice does not break between Clair de lune and Spleen for the latter is actually sung by the charming Thomas Oliemans. Despite such blips, this is another rewarding instalment in an engrossing series.