Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Duparc/Poulenc
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Phidylé; Métamorphoses
PERFORMER: Rosamund Illing (soprano), David McSkimming (piano)
Duparc’s 13 mélodies are among the most perfect and seductive songs in the French language, and the fact that they represent almost his entire output (the three early songs he suppressed are omitted here) make them all the more poignant. Rosamund Illing has a bold, bright voice, with a fluidity and clarity well suited to this repertoire. She is also admirably attentive to the words, though inclined to emphasise syllables for their sound rather than their meaning, thereby underplaying the languor of songs such as ‘Phidylé’, the mystery of the two Baudelaire settings, or the oddness of Poulenc’s Métamorphoses (for which, frustratingly, no texts are provided in the booklet). The result, though accomplished, lacks warmth.


However, Illing’s accompanist, David McSkimming, does much to conjure an atmosphere, giving a performance that is beautifully judged; his account of the brooding ‘La vague et la cloche’, with its eerie, fading postlude, is especially striking.