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L'Invitation au Voyage - Mélodies from La bell époque
     

L'Invitation au Voyage - Mélodies from La bell époque

by John Mark Ainsley
 
L'invitation au voyage, so-called because the first and last tracks as well as two tracks in-between are settings of Baudelaire's poem of the same name from Les fleurs du mal, bears the subtitle "M�lodies from La belle �poque," that is, songs from the period between the Franco-Prussian War and the Great War. The for the most part

Overview

L'invitation au voyage, so-called because the first and last tracks as well as two tracks in-between are settings of Baudelaire's poem of the same name from Les fleurs du mal, bears the subtitle "M�lodies from La belle �poque," that is, songs from the period between the Franco-Prussian War and the Great War. The for the most part nearly unknown composers represented here can be separated into two groups: those with beards and those without beards. Those with beards tend to write pop-oriented songs with instantly memorable tunes, ingratiating chord changes, infectious rhythms, and immediately graspable forms. Those without beards tend to write art-oriented songs with yearning themes, restless harmonies, supple rhythms, and elusive forms. But with or without beards, the composers invariably write m�lodies that are sweet, light, clear, and, despite chromatic flirtations with Wagner, quintessentially French. The same cannot be said of the performances by tenor John Mark Ainsley and pianist Graham Johnson. Certainly, Ainsley has a fine, clear voice with sweet tang in his upper range. And surely, Johnson's accompaniments are light, clear, lucid, and exceedingly sensitive. But their performances hardly sound quintessentially French -- indeed, they hardly sound French at all. Ainsley's diction is too precise and his pronunciation is too arch, while Johnson's accompaniments miss the lilt of the harmonies and the sway of the tempos. Although clearly first-class technically and interpretively, Ainsley and Johnson's performances sound more like admiring tourists than natives. Still, for first-class performances of sweet, light, and clear songs by nearly unknown French composers from La belle �poque, this disc can't be beat, especially with Hyperion's trademark clean, warm sound.

Editorial Reviews

Daily Telegraph - Richard Wigmore
John Mark Ainsley understands the idiom of these beguiling songs and delivers them with grace, fluency and clear diction.... A delectable disc.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/11/2006
Label:
Hyperion Uk
UPC:
0034571175232
catalogNumber:
67523

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