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Opium - Mélodies Francaises / Philippe Jaroussky


Release Date: 04/07/2009 
Label:  Virgin Classics   Catalog #: 16621   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Reynaldo HahnCécile Louise ChaminadeJules MassenetGabriel Fauré,   ... 
Performer:  Philippe JarousskyJerome DucrosGautier CapuçonEmmanuel Pahud,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Exciting and vibrant … a decided asset.

Naturally one’s first thought about a hothouse French programme such as this one concerns the Baroque specialist Jaroussky’s brazenly ‘modernist’ repertoire. How will the counter-tenor deal with the languid, languorous and the erotic that are enshrined within and will the voice sound incongruous? It’s a question that some asked when David Daniels ventured on this repertoire, in recital and on disc for Virgin, but he sounded almost as much at home as he did in the twentieth century English songs he sometimes essays, so it’s really more a question of command over the idioms concerned rather than anything intrinsically to do with the voice.

Let me first say that this is
Read more a very cunningly programmed disc. Beginning with the Baroque evocations of Hahn’s À Chloris - which is sung exquisitely - is a way of acknowledging Jaroussky’s primary area of reportorial expertise whilst simultaneously using the dappled anachronisms to launch himself into the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with florid expression and a true sense of homecoming. Thence we are pitched straight into the tumultuous brio of Chaminade’s 1894 Sombrero in which Jaroussky is vibrantly assisted by Jérôme Ducros who himself pays homage to the pianist-composer with playing of fusillading brilliance. Chausson’s beautiful song Le Colibri is sung and played with sensitive refinement though some may feel that the ebullient Ducros overdoes things in Fauré’s Automne.

In Hahn’s Fêtes galantes we find Jaroussky contending with one of the potentially limiting factors regarding a counter-tenor in this kind of repertoire - a lack of timbral colour. One feels him trying for larger and wider colours toward the lower end of his range but in the topmost part of the voice there can be a very slight but discernable lack of variety. It seldom really intrudes but ought to be noted. Sometimes, too, as in Saint-Saëns’s Violons dans le soir the voice can tense under pressure. Conversely he proves a most communicative and generous spirited artist in such as Hahn’s Quand je fus pris au pavillon and he and Ducros go for broke in Saint-Saëns’s Tournoiement 'Songe d'opium' which is dashingly dispatched and full of immense brio. It was wise for the duo to have taken on Lekeu’s Sur une tombe as so few of his songs, as opposed to his instrumental music, are known. It’s sung and played with generous romanticism and lyric grace.

Renaud and Gautier Capuçon join the Jaroussky-Ducros duo for a couple of items as does Emmanuel Pahud (flute) in Caplet’s delightful Viens, une flûte invisible. And there are semi-rarities in the shape of the D’Indy and Dupont and Dukas songs - the last named composer’s Sonnet is a mini-masterpiece. Try to hear it.

I can well anticipate the objections to this disc; wrong voice for the repertoire, lack of optimum colouristic potential for late-Romantic French chanson, occasional pronunciation problems especially high up the range, and some over-muscular pianism. Still, for me, the results are exciting and vibrant, the apparent mismatch between voice and chanson no mismatch at all, and the excellent recording and production values - trilingual texts - a decided asset.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
A Chloris by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
2.
Sombrero by Cécile Louise Chaminade
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Length: 1 Minutes 38 Secs. 
3.
Elégie by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Gautier Capuçon (Cello), Jerome Ducros (Piano), Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1869; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
4.
Nell, Op. 18 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; France 
Length: 1 Minutes 39 Secs. 
5.
Mélodies (7), Op. 2: no 7, Le colibri by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
6.
Automne, Op. 18 no 3 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 43 Secs. 
7.
Mignonne by Cécile Louise Chaminade
Performer:  Jerome Ducros (Piano), Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
8.
Fêtes galantes by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892; France 
Length: 1 Minutes 52 Secs. 
9.
Poème de l'amour et de la mer, Op. 19: no 3b, Le temps de lilas by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882-1890; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 50 Secs. 
10.
Mélodies (7), Op. 2: no 3, Les papillons by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; France 
Length: 1 Minutes 11 Secs. 
11.
Viens! by André Caplet
Performer:  Jerome Ducros (Piano), Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Emmanuel Pahud (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Length: 2 Minutes 47 Secs. 
12.
Lieder (3), Op. 27: no 1, Les heures by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 
13.
Rondels: Quand je fus pris au pavillion by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899; France 
Length: 1 Minutes 7 Secs. 
14.
Mélodies (20), Volume 1: Offrande by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1891; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 36 Secs. 
15.
Mélodies persanes (6), Op. 26: no 6, Tournoiement by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1870; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
16.
Romance by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
17.
Nuit d'Espagne by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 29 Secs. 
18.
Poèmes (3): no 1, Sur une tombe by Guillaume Lekeu
Performer:  Jerome Ducros (Piano), Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Period: Romantic 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
19.
Violons dans le soir by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano), Renaud Capuçon (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Length: 5 Minutes 17 Secs. 
20.
Nocturne by César Franck
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Written: 1884 
Length: 3 Minutes 36 Secs. 
21.
Lied maritime, Op. 43 by Vincent D'Indy
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
22.
Chansons grises (7): no 5, L'heure exquise by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Jerome Ducros (Piano), Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1893; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 17 Secs. 
23.
Ha! Bel Accueil " 'Amours' Sonnet" by Paul Dukas
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Jerome Ducros (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1924; Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 

Sound Samples

À Chloris
Sombrero (1894)
Elégie (1869)
Nell Op.18 No.1 (1880)
Le Colibri Op.2 No.7
Automne Op.18 No.3 (1880)
Mignonne (1894)
Fêtes galantes (Mandoline) (1892)
Le temps de lilas
Les Papillons Op.2 No.3
Viens, une flûte invisible (1900)
Les heures Op.27 No.1
Quand je fus pris au pavillon (Douze rondels, no.8)
Offrande (1891)
Tournoiement 'Songe d'opium' Op.26 No.6 (Mélodies persanes, 1870)
Romance (Deux Romance No.2, 1891)
Sonnet (Amours, Premier Livre, CLXIX)
Nuit d'Espagne (1869)
Sur une tombe (Trois poèmes, No.1 - 1892)
Violons dans le soir (1907)
Nocturne (1884)
Les donneurs de Sérénade (Mandoline) (1901)
Lied maritime Op.43
L'heure exquise (Chansons grises, no.5)

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