WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

L'heure exquise - Hahn, Enesco, Chausson, Debussy / Marie-Nicole Lemieux


Release Date: 10/18/2005 
Label:  Naive   Catalog #: 5022   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George EnescuReynaldo HahnErnest ChaussonClaude Debussy
Performer:  Daniel BlumenthalMarie-Nicole Lemieux
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews


Times are great for fans of mezzos and contraltos, especially ones who perform song recitals as well as opera and oratorio roles. And among today's several young stars, Quebec-born Marie-Nicole Lemieux has the versatility, technique, artistic instincts, and of course, the voice to ensure a long and illustrious career. Most impressively here, she shows how a sizable instrument can adapt perfectly to impart the most subtle nuance, gentle lyricism, and simmering sensuality inherent in these late-19th/early-20th century French mélodies. And when she does open up, there's never a sign of the fleshy, throaty quality or tendency to scoop that many less technically assured mezzos exhibit. And
Read more her diction is marvelously unaffected, as natural as sung French can be. Her operatic flair comes into play in several songs, most notably Georges Enesco's playful, humorous, and characterful "Changeons propos..." (Let's change the subject, that's enough singing of love) and Reynaldo Hahn's "Fêtes galantes".


The majority of the songs belong to Hahn, the majority of the texts to Paul Verlaine, although Victor Hugo, Alphonse Daudet, Clément Marot, and even Robert Louis Stevenson make appearances. Enesco's Sept Chansons de Clément Marot Op. 15 are alone worth hearing in Lemieux's stylish, confident performances. She's not just singing pretty music; like all great singers she's inside it, and she gives the impression that it's inside her, that she owns and understands it.


The Hahn songs are among the finest in the repertoire, highlighted by the disc's title work, "L'heure exquise", which Lemieux delivers with truly exquisite control and just the right amount of understatement at its climactic moment. But Hahn's Debussy-like "Offrande" and surprisingly Brahmsian "Puisque j'ai mis ma lèvre" are equally compelling, as are the oft-performed Debussy Fêtes galantes. If there's a weak point, it's Hahn's Cinq petites chansons (five little songs) set to poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, whose English parlor-song demeanor doesn't really fit the mood and sophistication of the rest of the program. No matter. This is a first-rate recital by a truly extraordinary singer. Accompanist Daniel Blumenthal is a perfect partner, as you never notice a note or dynamic or aspect of phrasing out of sync with Lemieux. Solo singing rarely if ever gets better than this, and the quality of the recording matches the high standard of the performances. [Incidentally, if you're a fan of French song, you should also try soprano Dawn Upshaw's excellent recital on Erato, titled Hommage À Jane Bathori and recorded live in 1999, featuring different repertoire and equally superb singing (type Q1310 in Search Reviews).] [10/26/2005]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Chansons de Clément Marot (7), Op. 15 by George Enescu
Performer:  Daniel Blumenthal (Piano), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908; Romania 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 13 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: French 
2. Mélodies (20), Volume 1: D'une prison by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Daniel Blumenthal (Piano), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: French 
3. Chansons grises (7): no 5, L'heure exquise by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Daniel Blumenthal (Piano), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1893; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 1 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: French 
4. Fêtes galantes by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Daniel Blumenthal (Piano), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 1 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: French 
5. L'Albatros by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Daniel Blumenthal (Piano), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: French 
6. Mélodies (4), Op. 13: no 1, Apaisement by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Daniel Blumenthal (Piano), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 1 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: French 
7. Mélodies (20), Volume 1: Offrande by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Daniel Blumenthal (Piano), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1891; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Language: French 
8. A Chloris by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Daniel Blumenthal (Piano), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: French 
9. Puisque j'ai mis ma lèvre by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Daniel Blumenthal (Piano), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 4 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Language: French 
10. Mélodies (20), Volume 1: Trois jours de vendange by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Daniel Blumenthal (Piano), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1895; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: French 
11. Quand la nuit n'est pas étoilée by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Daniel Blumenthal (Piano), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Language: French 
12. Poèmes (2), Op. 34: no 2, Le chevalier malheur by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Daniel Blumenthal (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: French 
13. Poèmes (2), Op. 34: no 1, La chanson bien douce by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Daniel Blumenthal (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 2 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Language: French 
14. Cinq petites chansons by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Daniel Blumenthal (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 8 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: French 
15. Fêtes galantes, Set 2: no 1, Les ingénus by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Daniel Blumenthal (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 2 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Language: French 
16. Fêtes galantes, Set 2: no 2, Le faune by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Daniel Blumenthal (Piano)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1904 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: French 
17. Fêtes galantes, Set 2: no 3, Colloque sentimental by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Daniel Blumenthal (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2005 
Venue:  Tibor Varga Studio, Sion, Switzerland 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: French 

Sound Samples

7 Chansons de Clement Marot, Op. 15: No. 1. Estreines a Anne
7 Chansons de Clement Marot, Op. 15: No. 2. Languir me faits
7 Chansons de Clement Marot, Op. 15: No. 3. Aux damoyselles paresseuses d'escrire a leurs amys
7 Chansons de Clement Marot, Op. 15: No. 4. Estrene de la rose
7 Chansons de Clement Marot, Op. 15: No. 5. Present de couleur blanche
7 Chansons de Clement Marot, Op. 15: No. 6. Changeons propos, c'est trop chante d'amours...
7 Chansons de Clement Marot, Op. 15: No. 7. Du conflict en douleur
D'une prison
Chansons grises: No. 5. L'heure exquise
Fetes galantes
L'albatros
2 Poemes, Op. 34: No. 2. Le chevalier malheur
4 Melodies, Op. 13: No. 1. Apaisement
2 Poemes, Op. 34: No. 1. La chanson bien douce
Offrande
A Chloris
5 Petites chansons: No. 1. The Swing
5 Petites chansons: No. 2. Windy nights
5 Petites chansons: No. 3. My Ship and I
5 Petites chansons: No. 4. The Stars
5 Petites chansons: No. 5. A good boy
Fetes galantes, Book 2: Les ingenus
Fetes galantes, Book 2: Le faune
Fetes galantes, Book 2: Colloque sentimental
Puisque j'ai mis ma levre
3 Jours de vendange
Quand la nuit n'est pas etoilee

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook