on June 29, 2001
Anne Sofie Von Otter's vocalism is simply one of the most sophisticated these days and, in this disc, she sings music of a very sophisticated nature. The Mallarmé songs are, in its own right, some of the most creative and exquisite in the French repertoire and here Von Otter produces sounds of instrumental and yet most expressive nature. The Chanson Perpetuelle is also sung in the most expressive and wide tonal range and the Swedish mezzo's French couldn't be more idiomatic. It is no wonder that her Mélisande in the Paris Opera was considered to be a complete success. She offers highly virtuosistic and sensitive performances in the Hindu songs and the Fauré are all delicious. My only doubt is about the inclusion of Poulenc's Rhapsodie Nègre in this recital. It has nothing to do with the rest of the pieces and it is an uninspiring piece, especially today when épater la bourgeoisie is something nobody cares about anymore. It is a minor problem in such a nice disc, but I regret that she didn't record here more Fauré and why not some Debussy? Forsberg is the usual nicest pianist and the rest of the team offer great ensemble performances. Wonderfully recorded sound by DG.