- Poème de l'amour et de la mer, for voice & orchestra, Op. 19
- Shéhérazade, poems (3) for soprano (or tenor) & orchestra (or piano)
- Poèmes (5) de Baudelaire, song collection for voice & piano, L. 64: 1. Le Balcon
- Poèmes (5) de Baudelaire, song collection for voice & piano, L. 64: 2. Harmonie du soir
- Poèmes (5) de Baudelaire, song collection for voice & piano, L. 64: 3. Le Jet d'eau
- Poèmes (5) de Baudelaire, song collection for voice & piano, L. 64: 4. Recueillement
Sometimes the combination of artist and repertoire is so alluring that a disc simply recommends itself. That's certainly the case whenever mezzo-soprano Susan Graham turns to French music: Her recordings of Berlioz, Reynaldo Hahn, and French operetta arias have set high expectations, and this disc raises the bar higher still. After hearing Graham sing Ernest Chausson's luxuriously romantic Poème de l'amour et de la mer (Poem of Love and the Sea), it's hard to imagine wanting to hear any other voice in this music. Not only do her creamy tones fit Chausson's melodies like a glove, but her interpretation also reveals the emotional depth of the work with more insight than most other singers have achieved, rivaling Dame Janet Baker's classic recording as a top recommendation. To follow the Chausson with Maurice Ravel's Shéhérazade is almost to risk an overload of musical sensuality, but Graham is prepared to seduce the listener all over again; rarely has the mysterious aura of these songs been communicated with such sheer vocal beauty, and the BBC Symphony under Yan Pascal Tortelier provide their share of voluptuous sound as well. The novelty on this program is Le Livre de Baudelaire (The Book of Baudelaire), a new orchestration by John Adams of four of Claude Debussy's settings of poems by Charles Baudelaire. It's a wonderful addition to the orchestral song repertoire, with Adams refracting the original piano accompaniments through a shimmering and subtly nuanced instrumental palette that is worthy of Debussy himself. It's worth acquiring this disc just to hear these dreamy arrangements, but the whole recital matches gorgeous music with transfixing performances in precisely the equation that always makes Susan Graham's recordings so special.