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Melodies

Debussy Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 21.12 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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1. Apparition 1884 - Poeme De Stephane Mallarme 1863
2. Romance 1883 - Poeme De Paul Bourget
3. Les Papillons 1881 - Poem De Paul Bourget
4. Les Papillions 1881 - Poeme De Theophile Gautier In 'Premieres Poesies
5. Regret 1884 - Poeme De Paul Bourget
6. C'est L'extase
7. Il Pleure Dans Mon Coeur
8. L'ombre Des Arbres
9. Paysages Belges: Chevaux De Bois
10. Aquarelles: Green
11. Aquarelles: Spleen
12. De Reve
13. De Greve
14. De Fleurs
15. De Soir
16. Soupir
17. Placet Futile
18. Eventail

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Soprano Sandrine Piau follows her exciting all-Mozart aria recital with a disc of Debussy melodies, where subtlety and declamatory elegance replace coloratura fireworks. Piau’s sparing use of vibrato testifies to her acclaim as a singer of early music, and it’s "authentic" for turn-of-the-century music too. Her refined soprano is a quality instrument, though some may prefer the richer voice of Juliane Banse, whose recent Mozart-Debussy recital on ECM duplicates some of the material. But Piau covers more ground, including the 1913 Trois poémes de Stéphane Mallarmé and a brace of early songs from the 1880s since her well-chosen program spans Debussy’s life-long interest in melodies. She captures his idiom well--just listen to the delicacy of her phrasing in C’est l’extase and the floating, disembodied close of De rêve and Soupir, among many such instances on this disc. Of special interest are the mellow-sounding piano accompaniments of Jos van Immerseel, playing an 1897 Erard, an instrument whose timbre Debussy would have expected in these songs. --Dan Davis

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars sterling recital Oct. 10 2003
Format:Audio CD
Piau already belongs to the rarefied cadre of superlative French singers of baroque music -- Veronique Gens and Patricia Petibon are in the same league -- and here, like Gens and Petibon, Piau ventures into the modern field. This recital is even better than Piau's recent Mozart album. The rapport between singer and pianist is uncanny, and Piau's singing is unfailingly responsive to the texts, and supremely beautiful. A gorgeous album.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An "Apparition" of transparent beauty March 12 2006
By Ingrid Heyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
There is a certain quality to the music of Debussy which is unmistakably his... It's not just that this is Impressionistic - it is in an innate timbre, an internal quality. Something about Debussy's music susurrates his very essence...

This is the finest recording of Debussy mélodies that I've ever heard. The more I listen to this CD, the more I find the fine detail and overall impression of delicately sure brush-strokes upon the canvas of the music. Sandrine Piau is an exceptionally gifted singer with very clear intelligence and an emotional connection to the exquisite songs of this CD.

Aahhhh! Listen, if you can, to "Apparition" without melting. This is a beautiful, beautiful selection of songs, and the timbre of Ms Piau's voice conveys perfectly what Debussy intended. It has a sort of trembling rose near the thorn of sorrow quality about it, a dewdrop quivering upon the velvet of a flower, very fresh and sweet without being saccharine, almost pointed, almost sharp. It is a sweet dagger in the heart.

This is truly lovely singing. I know these songs so well, as a singer of them myself, and I can only say... Beautiful. Other recordings of Debussy songs have their own appeal - Elly Ameling is always delightful, for instance. But the stodginess or lack of meticulous detail and understanding of the style of French art song of some singers is all the more highlighted by the zephyr-like beauties and perfectly delineated details of this particular recording. There's nothing like hearing a French singer of quality singing French songs - it can be a perfect experience, and in this case it is indeed perfect.

Very, very highly recommended. I know of no better recording of Debussy mélodies.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sterling recital Oct. 10 2003
By L. Gallagher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Piau already belongs to the rarefied cadre of superlative French singers of baroque music -- Veronique Gens and Patricia Petibon are in the same league -- and here, like Gens and Petibon, Piau ventures into the modern field. This recital is even better than Piau's recent Mozart album. The rapport between singer and pianist is uncanny, and Piau's singing is unfailingly responsive to the texts, and supremely beautiful. A gorgeous album.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Piau, Debussy and an Érard Piano Make for a Transcendent Combination July 4 2005
By Ed Uyeshima - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Soprano Sandrine Piau impressed me considerably with her period-authentic performance on her recent 2005 recording, "Handel Opera Seria", as she provides expressive vocalism, a wide-ranging coloratura and an immaculate technique. This 2003 release applies her talent to the demanding art of French song, which has been well trodden of late with superbly rendered releases from the likes of mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, lyric tenor Rolando Villazón and countertenor David Daniels. Piau has the advantage of singing in her native tongue, and she is matched admirably by accompanist Jos van Immerseel, who plays on an 1897 Érard grand piano to uphold the integrity of Debussy's original compositions. The combination of the piano's precise and subtle sound and Piau's clear diction and phrasing makes Debussy's music transcendent.

The program is organized chronologically with two song cycles from Debussy's later years, the "Ariettes oubliées" and the "Proses lyriques", sandwiched between songs from Debussy's youth ("Mélodies de jeunesse") and his final cycle based on texts by Stéphane Mallarmé. It's obvious from the opening song, "Apparition", that Piau loves this music, as she milks the intensely expressive line with vigor and lets her supple voice soar with ease. In "C'est l'extase", the first song of the "Ariettes oubliées", she gently brings out each syllable's meaning indicating a gradual maturity in approach that is quite moving. But unlike Graham's consistently sonorous set, Piau lets loose with exuberant abandon on "Paysages belges: Chevaux de bois" when she enthusiastically describes the unfettered excitement of a carousel from a child's perspective. The last cycle is perhaps Piau's most accomplished, as she lends symmetry to the three songs from the sunrise described in the opening "Soupir" matches her glowing tone in the last song, "Évantail". Piau sings with astonishing precision and clarity of tone throughout no matter what the dramatic setting, whether she is being mournful or girlish. With the deeper tessitura of each succeeding cycle, Piau's voice deepens, and her interpretations take on a burnished quality. It is thrilling to hear such an ideal match between composer, voice and instrument.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even Better Than I Hoped! May 5 2009
By Giordano Bruno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Sandrine Piau brings all her superb 'early music' vocal technique - agility, clarity, delicacy, and perfect tuning - to the realization of these melodious art songs by Claude Debussy (1862-1918). And what she doesn't bring to this performance is just as important: no wobble, no non-ornamental vibrato; no bellow, no swelling or swooping. I bought this album simply on the credibility of Piau's Baroque performances, not because I'm a dyed-in-the-velvet Debussy fan, but what a revelation! Hearing Piau sing these songs is like eating sushi for the first time after a diet of fish sticks.

The texts of these "mélodies" are poems by some of the greatest French poets - Verlaine and Mallarmé especially - and it's an added thrill to be able to distinguish one word from another, something only possible with the kind of 'historically informed' attention to diction that typifies singers like Piau.

The sensitive interaction between singer and pianist is what elevates these compositions from mere recital pieces to great music. Pianist Jos van Immerseel drapes his filagreed piano passages around Piau's voice like a silken ball gown. The piano he plays is a historical instrument, an Erard built in 1897. In the notes, Immerseel explains the differences in the action, escarpment, and pedals. What I can hear on the CD is the greater 'specificity' and transparency of overtones, a result of the strings being all parallel rather than overlapping and rumbling sympathetically in the manner of the more recent grand pianos. Immerseel states that the French of Debussy's era highly valued "jeu perlé" - tonal precision - and to my ears, there was good 'raison.'

Baroque-niks! Time to vary your collections! Let's declare this CD Giordano's "must buy" for May 2009!
8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The minority report... Jan. 14 2006
By E. Weed - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I write as someone who is not a great listener to lieder, but who does follow Debussy song discs. I don't disagree that this is at least a very good CD, but I prefer Shafer's Debussy with Irwin Gage on DG, among relatively recent issues. Part of the problem is van Immerseel's 1887 Erard. He's done a solo disc of Debussy piano music with what is apparently the same piano, and I really enjoyed that disc. However, there's something about the blend of the Erard with the voice that, to this ear, doesn't work quite as happily as one would like. I know that, in theory, it should be more authentic. But is it, really? An interesting comparison can be done with the Maggie Teyte discs on Naxos, which contain a number of Debussy songs recorded in the 30's. She'd worked with Debussy himself, earlier in the century. What you hear on those discs is not much like what we hear on this one (regardless of what piano they were using). There are issues of vocal styling (to this ear, anyway) that trump the Erard issue.

I like Teyte, I like Piau, I like Shafer. I just wish that, with Piau, they'd used a contemporary piano.
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