Debussy, Honegger, Poulenc, Ravel & Messiaen, Satie: Songs by Poulenc, Satie, Debussy, Honegger, Ravel & Messiaen

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Debussy,Honegger,Poulenc,Ravel & Messiaen,Satie
LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Frederica Von Stade
WORKS: Songs by Poulenc, Satie, Debussy, Honegger, Ravel & Messiaen
PERFORMER: Frederica von Stade (mezzo-soprano), Martin Katz (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 62711 2 DDD
The CD booklet for this mélodie recital reminds us at considerable length, and at the expense of any information on the music, that Frederica von Stade is ‘one of the music world’s great interpreters of French vocal literature’. Fortunately von Stade more than justifies this indulgent essay with performances of such beauty, insight and variety that the disc has all but taken up permanent residence in my player.

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From the slight quavering at the beginning of Poulenc’s ‘Le sommeil’ (Sleep), reflecting the exasperation of a mother who cannot get her baby to sleep, to a particularly ebullient account of Ravel’s Cinq mélodies populaires grecques, von Stade demonstrates a seemingly innate ability to be both uninhibited and yet discreet in her characterisation. Martin Katz accompanies with a similar depth of understanding and a remarkable range of pianistic colour.

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In short, an intelligently constructed collection with spirited performances. Recommended. Christopher Dingle