WORKS: Songs by Fauré, Hahn, Duparc, Payette
PERFORMER: Gino Quilico (baritone)Alain Lefèvre (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: KIC-CD-7412
Gino Quilico is a heroic operatic baritone, but not a natural singer of mélodies. His voice, though warm and rich, is too big and robust for these delicate, languorous songs. Hahn expected his singers to make astonishing vocal leaps: in the haunting Verlaine setting ‘L’heure exquise’, the voice has to soar a sixth, which exposes Quilico’s upper register as shaky.
His sustained notes, too, are often laboured; and he has an irritating habit of appending an extra syllable to words ending in e: ‘La lune-a blanche-a’ etc. But he is much better suited to Duparc, and his ‘Phylidé’ and ‘L’invitation au voyage’ are expansive and rapturous. The recital ends with five songs by Alain Payette, born in Montreal in 1953, but whose heart belongs in Paris c1900.
His setting of five faux-decadent texts by the Québecois poet Gustave Labbé are essentially pastiche, but their effect is engaging. Oddly, though this is a studio recording, the disc boasts of being unedited; a shame, for some judicious mixing might have improved it. As it stands, it is left to the pianist Alain Lefèvre to redeem things with a performance of considerable sensitivity. Claire Wrathall