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Clairieres: Songs by Lili & Nadia Boulanger / Phan, Huang


Release Date: 01/17/2020 
Label:  Avie   Catalog #: 2414  
Composer:  Nadia BoulangerLili Boulanger
Performer:  Nicholas PhanMyra Huang
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

On Clairières, Grammy Award-nominated tenor Nicholas Phan and pianist Myra Huang pay homage to Lili and Nadia Boulanger, two exceptional composers of the 20th century who have often been overlooked in favour of their male counterparts. At the heart of the album is Lili’s song cycle Clairières dans le ciel. Alongside are a selection of songs set to poetry by the sisters’ contemporaries Verlaine, Maeterlinck, Jammes and Samain. Described by the Boston Globe as “one of the world’s most remarkable singers,” American tenor Nicholas Phan is increasingly recognized as an artist of distinction. Praised for his keen intelligence, captivating stage presence and natural musicianship, he performs regularly with the world’s leading Read more orchestras and opera companies. Also an avid recitalist, in 2010 he co-founded the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (CAIC) to promote art song and vocal chamber music. Acclaimed by Opera News as being “among the top accompanists of her generation,” pianist Myra Huang regularly performs in recitals and chamber music concerts around the world. In addition to many chamber music concerts and recitals at the Palau De Les Arts in Valencia, Spain, she recently performed recitals at Carnegie Halls Weill Hall, the University of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York with tenor Nicholas Phan, and at Carnegie Halls Zankel Hall with soprano Susanna Phillips.

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REVIEW:

Lili Boulanger, who died during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic at the age of 24, is recognised as one of the 20th century’s great unfulfilled talents, while her elder sister Nadia, who died in 1979, went on to become one of its most influential teachers , espousing the doctrine of neoclassicism.

Lili’s songs dominate this disc – there are 16 by her against five by her sister. Even in the earliest numbers, the differences between the composers are clear. Nadia is the more conservative, stylistically cautious – her songs take middle-period Fauré as their starting point – while her sister’s pieces are melodically and harmonically much more chromatic. Some of the piano accompaniments in Lili’s song cycle could have been lifted from a Debussy prelude.

What they share, though, is meticulous concern for every musical and verbal detail, and Phan’s wonderfully poised and precise singing matches it perfectly. He is an outstanding interpreter of French song, and Huang is an equally attentive partner. It’s hard to imagine these Boulanger songs could have more convincing advocacy.

– Guardian (UK) Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Versailles by Nadia Boulanger
Performer:  Nicholas Phan (Tenor), Myra Huang (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
2.
Heures ternes by Nadia Boulanger
Performer:  Nicholas Phan (Tenor), Myra Huang (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
3.
Reflets by Lili Boulanger
Performer:  Nicholas Phan (Tenor), Myra Huang (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; France 
4.
Attente by Lili Boulanger
Performer:  Nicholas Phan (Tenor), Myra Huang (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; France 
5.
Cantique by Nadia Boulanger
Performer:  Nicholas Phan (Tenor), Myra Huang (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
6.
La mer by Nadia Boulanger
Performer:  Nicholas Phan (Tenor), Myra Huang (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
7.
Soleils couchants by Nadia Boulanger
Performer:  Nicholas Phan (Tenor), Myra Huang (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
8.
Clairières dans le ciel by Lili Boulanger
Performer:  Nicholas Phan (Tenor), Myra Huang (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; Italy 
9.
Soir d'hiver by Nadia Boulanger
Performer:  Nicholas Phan (Tenor), Myra Huang (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 

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