Poulenc: Mélodies

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Poulenc
LABELS: Decca
WORKS: Mélodies
PERFORMER: Catherine Dubosc (soprano)Gilles Cachemaille (baritone)Pascal Rogé (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 436 991-2 DDD
‘I beg of you, don’t analyse my songs – love them!’ Poulenc is said to have exhorted a student of his music. And this superlative recital is an incentive to do just that. A better collaboration than that between the baritone Gilles Cachemaille and the pianist Pascal Rogé would be hard to imagine: Cachemaille has a voice of tremendous warmth and variety of tone, and his manner is engaging and unaffected, ranging from the hauntingly sincere, almost melancholic, on Apollinaire’s Banalités, to the wry, amused even, on Le bestiaire, to the rumbustious on the Chansons gaillardes, perfectly capturing the spirit of their ribald 17th-century texts. Rogé makes far more of the piano parts than mere accompaniment, producing a sound that is both dazzlingly brilliant and lyrically beautiful.

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The soprano Catherine Dubosc also gives an attractive account of the three groups of songs based on the beguilingly feminine poetry of Louise de Vilmorin, as well as settings of texts by Eluard and Anouilh’s sublime valse chantée ‘Les chemins de l’amour’. Her voice is exquisitely limpid and pure, but there is a flutteriness and occasional uncertainty in the top notes that mar, slightly, an otherwise commendable performance. Claire Wrathall