Invitation au Voyage

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Boulanger,de la Presle,Debussy,Duparc
LABELS: Ambronay
ALBUM TITLE: Invitation au Voyage
WORKS: Mélodies by Debussy, Duparc, Boulanger and de la Presle
PERFORMER: Stéphanie d’Oustrac (mezzo-soprano), Pascal Jourdan (piano)


Stéphanie d’Oustrac has a warm, flexible mezzo voice which rises up easily as far as top Gs and which she can float to great effect. Like many French female singers of the past, she has a fastish vibrato, which personally I can tolerate although I can understand that some listeners may find it intrusive.

In general her words are clear, except that initial consonants are sometimes lost, as in the opening words ‘Tes beaux yeux’ in Debussy’s Le jet d’eau where the ‘T’ is obscured by the piano left hand. I could have done, too, with more varied colouring of the tone – her acid delivery of ‘la multitude vile’ in ‘Recueillement’ is welcome. Pascal Jourdan’s playing is mostly excellent, bringing out inner parts without blatancy and keeping the pulse going where needed. My only quibble is with a few clumsy, ‘caterwauling’ key releases at the ends of one or two of the earlier songs on the disc.

The choice of songs is interesting, though it’s a pity not to have used the 2005 Peters edition for the Duparc settings, incorporating the composer’s later refinements. In the liner notes, tracks 2 and 3 are reversed and someone has exercised an untoward imagination over dates.


Roger Nichols