This CD presents the brief but remarkable output of songs by Duparc during his artistic period that was cut short by a nervous affliction. These works are beautifully performed by mezzo-soprano Sarah Walker and baritone Thomas Allen, with sensitive piano accompaniment by Roger Vignoles. The collection opens with Duparc's best known melody, L'invitation au voyage, which is a setting of a text from Baudelaire's Les fleurs du mal. The lovely rolling impressionist piano harmonies are played with exquisite fluidity, as they underscore Walker's velvety and intimate vocals. The Sérénade florentine is an impressionist lullaby to a loved one, delivered with touching emotion by Thomas Allen. Extase, Elégie and Testament show the influence of Wagner, and the Chanson triste is one of Duparc's early, Gounod-style songs. Au pays oú se fait la guerre (1869) is also an early work, but is particularly entrancing with simple modal harmonies and easily perceived song construction. By sensitive use of passing tones in the piano, the harmonies are subtly redefined and the music is extended dramatically toward the end by expressive on-rushes.
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Duparc was born in Paris. He studied piano with César Franck at the Jesuit College in the Vaugirard district and became one of his first composition pupils. Following military service in the Franco-Prussian War, he married Ellen MacSwinney, from Scotland, on 9 November 1871. In the same year, he joined Saint-Saëns and Romain Bussine to found the Société Nationale de Musique Moderne. Duparc is best known for his 17 mélodies ("art songs") with texts by poets such as Baudelaire, Gautier, Leconte de Lisle, and Goethe.
Jose Van Dam is one of the most respected singers of the French repertoire of the second half of the twentieth century. With very few recordings available of the entire Duparc repertoire, especially for lower-mid voiced males, this recording is a must-have! Definitely far better than the Souzay recordings! If you're looking for other vocalists who are worth listening too I'd suggest Susan Graham or Paul Groves for their interpretations of the Duparc repertoire.J. M. Barclay @ Amazon.com
In the golden age of orchestral recording – the 1950s cusp between mono and stereo – American labels piled into London and Vienna after an aggressive union priced their own musicians out of work. At Abbey Road, players worked 30 days on the trot, three sessions a day, to feed a burgeoning market for classical music. In Vienna, the Philharmonic (exclusively contracted to Decca) performed under six different names for other labels.
New Naïve signing baritone Stéphane Degout has already featured as soloist with the internationally renowned choral group Accentus on Brahms' German Requiem and Fauré's Requiem. The programme on his solo debut CD is a selection of mélodies by various French composers, Debussy, Ravel, Duparc, Saint-Saëns, Chabrier, and Reynaldo Hahn. Stéphane Degout first met pianist Hélène Lucas when he entered the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon in 1995.
…As fine as she is in the traditional classical pieces, her voice really blossoms in the sultry Spanish and Latin repertoire, where the music invites her to bring an improvisatory spontaneity to her interpretation. The program is put together with unusual care; the juxtaposition of the songs is often striking and creates an inexorable and satisfying sense of flow. Pianist Justus Zeyen is a responsive and virtuosic partner. Deutsche Grammophon's sound is clear, well balanced, and warmly present. A lovely album.