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Jardin Nocturne / Isabelle Druet, Johanne Ralambondrainy

Druet / Ralambondrainy / Pageault
Release Date: 05/10/2011 
Label:  Aparte   Catalog #: 13  
Composer:  Francis PoulencFernand HalphenJules MassenetErnest Chausson,   ... 
Performer:  Isabelle DruetJohanne Ralambondrainy
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Having always loved stories, words and music, I wanted to create a framework for my recitals and to "narrate" the songs to the audience. Thus this programme, devoted exclusively to French "melodies", came into being. The art songs presented here take us into a nocturnal world, with stories expressing moods ranging from great tenderness to deep despair.

It all began with Berlioz's "Nuits d’été". The first time I sang this cycle I was struck by the power yet gentleness that these pieces emanate. Berlioz originally composed his work for voice and piano and I decided to champion that version for the fine chamber relationship it permits. We have aimed to convey all the intimacy of these
Read more songs, attempting extreme dynamics, passages almost in recitative, while retaining the lyricism of Berlioz's work.

The next step was to find more treasures with a similar nocturnal setting. So Johanne Ralambondrainy and I, who have long been accomplices, went through the collections, discovering or rediscovering songs that appealed to us, then whittling those down to the ones we felt were absolutely essential. In some cases we have taken the liberty of removing "mélodies" from the cycle to which they normally belong. We have thus brought together composers we love and "mélodies" we find exciting and original. (...) Finally, I asked Christian Pageault, an actor I particularly appreciate for his precision and dramatic intensity, to join me as narrator, reciting some parts of the poems. The texts you will hear were with me constantly as an inspiration throughout the conception and realisation of this project.

-- Isabelle Druet

R E V I E W S:

French mezzo-soprano Isabelle Druet began a rapid ascent to stardom toward the end of the first decade of the 21st century, and her 2011 recital of mélodies, Jardin Nocturne, is her first solo recording since then. It's easy to hear why Druet has been showered with honors like the French Victoires de la musique classique for the most promising young opera singer of 2010, and with leading roles in Carmen, Dido and Aeneas, and Lully's Amadis. She has the kind of voice that makes one sit up and pay close attention. Most obvious are the sumptuous fullness of her silky tone, her pristine intonation, and the fluidity of her legato. Druet's voice retains its warmth and tonal beauty even at the most extreme dynamics and in Berlioz's "Sur les les lagunes," she dips down to the middle of the bass clef with ease and without loss of power or timbral richness. She has absolute control of her vibrato, which she uses with the utmost subtlety and color, and she shapes phrases with the sensitivity and understanding of a natural singer who has the instincts to fully emotionally inhabit what she sings. In the program notes, she writes of her passion for the poetry and that passion is transparently evident in her singing, whether in the exuberance of Berlioz's "L'Ile inconnue," the sinuous sensuality of Massenet's "Nuit d'Espagne," the transcendent serenity of Fauré's Nocturne, or the soulful intensity of Berlioz's "Le spectre de la rose." The program of mélodies with nocturnal themes that Druet has put together is simply gorgeous. The album's centerpiece is the original version of "Les nuits d'été" with piano accompaniment to which Druet brings a youthful freshness. The other composers represented include Chausson, Hahn, Poulenc, and the very obscure Fernand Halphen (1872-1917) who, on the basis of the two radiant songs recorded here, fully deserves the revival that Druet hopes to instigate. Pianist Johanne Ralambondrainy provides a splendidly nuanced accompaniment; while playing with plenty of warmth, subtlety, and expressiveness, she brings out individual inner voices with calligraphic clarity. The sound of Aparté's CD is clean, well-balanced, and warmly ambient. Highly recommended; Isabelle Druet is a singer to watch out for.

-- Stephen Eddins, All Music Guide
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Works on This Recording

1.
Tel jour, telle nuit: no 9, Nous avons fait la nuit by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano), Johanne Ralambondrainy (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; France 
2.
Colloque sentimental by Fernand Halphen
Performer:  Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano), Johanne Ralambondrainy (Piano)
3.
Nuit d'Espagne by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano), Johanne Ralambondrainy (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; France 
4.
Lieder (3), Op. 27: no 1, Les heures by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano), Johanne Ralambondrainy (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; France 
5.
Nocturne, Op. 43 no 2 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano), Johanne Ralambondrainy (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; France 
6.
Encor sur le pavé sonne mon pas nocturne by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano), Johanne Ralambondrainy (Piano)
7.
Les nuits d'été, Op. 7 by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano), Johanne Ralambondrainy (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; France 
8.
Serres chaudes, Op. 24: Serre d'ennui by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano), Johanne Ralambondrainy (Piano)
9.
Clair de lune, Op. 46 no 2 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano), Johanne Ralambondrainy (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; France 
10.
Mirages, Op. 113: no 3, Jardin nocturne by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano), Johanne Ralambondrainy (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1919; France 
11.
Dans la nuit by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano), Johanne Ralambondrainy (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
12.
Mélodies (20), Volume 1: Nocturne by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano), Johanne Ralambondrainy (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1893; France 
13.
La courte paille: no 7, Lune d'avril by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Isabelle Druet (Mezzo Soprano), Johanne Ralambondrainy (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; France 

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