“Lili Boulanger seems for some years to have found the place she deserves in the pantheon of French composers, despite the infinitely regrettable brevity of her career. As for Nadia Boulanger, it was believed that the case had been heard for a long time: a genius pedagogue , by which so many composers of the twentieth century learned the bitterest demands of their craft, and pioneered the interpretation of early music as evidenced by the recordings of Monteverdi. What if we had to rethink this beautiful dichotomy? What if talent – genius? – could be present twice in the same generation of a family? And if ‘Mademoiselle’ had greatness in the field of composition? … For the songs, Mademoiselle had the good taste to choose among the best poets, or at least among the best of those who were fashionable at the time. By a lone Armand Silvestre, a scribe very dear to Massenet, one will find a whole bouquet of Verlaine, a Hugo, some Maeterlinck, some Albert Samain, three Heinrich Heine, and five Camille Mauclair (disciple of Mallarmé, ardent Wagnerian then virulent antisemite, lover of Georgette Leblanc before she became the mistress of Maeterlinck, and whose poems have often been put to music, notably by Chausson). … To sum up, from the very good 1900 song on the Symbolist poems: nobody forces you to love, but if you appreciate this style, you are in for a treat. Especially since Delos had the intelligence not to entrust this full hour of vocal music to a single interpreter. Three voices share the corpus boulangesque: a soprano, who has the majority, a tenor, and a baritone. Perhaps, on the other hand, it would not have been unwelcome to leave together the pieces composed the same year around the same poet (only Heine here has this opportunity), free for each to listen back to back to the four Samain of 1906, for example. Nicole Cabell is a superb voice, whose tones and colors sometimes evoke a Jessye Norman. … Obviously, with Edwin Crossley-Mercer, everything changes because, as his name does not indicate in the least, the baritone is French by birth and has already proven that he was master of the delicate art of the mélodie, as far as in certain rightly calculated effects, a singing off the voice here, an accentuation there. A record highly recommended to all lovers of French song and discoveries.” —Laurent Bury, Forumopera.com (translation by Lucy Mauro)
See the full review in the original French at ForumOpera.com
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