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French Melodies - Berlioz, Debussy, Faure, Ravel / Teyte


Release Date: 02/25/2010 
Label:  Emi Classics Références Catalog #: 65198   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Hector BerliozErnest ChaussonHenri DuparcMaurice Ravel,   ... 
Performer:  Maggie TeyteGerald MooreJames WhiteheadGeorge Ackroyd
Conductor:  Leslie HewardLeighton LucasHugo Rignold
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony OrchestraOrchestraBlech String Quartet,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 2 Hours 37 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Je rapporte une rare emotion", the line from "Le martin-pécheur", one of Ravel's Histoires nature//es, as Dame Maggie sings it, seems to signal the mood into which one is cast, listening to these famous recordings. Having always adored Teyte's voice and singing, I tried to imagine how her performances might strike a collector who has never heard her before. The opening songs on the first CD, "Le spectre de la rose" and "Absence" from Berlioz's Les nuits d'été reveal at once all her positive virtues. The firmness of tone, the beauty of her high soft notes—like clear mountain spring water—which is not to say that there is anything watery about her interpretations; then the Read more surprising sensuality of much of her phrasing and pronunciation—surprising because of the unmistakably British quality of her voice. She excelled above all in the melodic, but her voice had none of the acid shrillness associated with French sopranos.

Teyte's diction was excellent, but is not what one thinks of now as idiomatic French. "On ne chante pas comme on parle" she used to insist, and what one can hear is, I imagine, the Parisian fashion in the 1900s for affecting a slight English accent. That this came naturally to her must have added to her allure for audiences of the time. (Proust mentions her in his letters.)

All the songs by Chausson are very fine. In Le colibri she demonstrates the richness of her low notes, and although the sound in Poème de l'amour ci de la mer is somewhat restricted, this too is heady stuff. Chausson's Chanson perpeiuelle, in which she is accompanied by Gerald Moore and the Blech String Quartet, has never before been reissued. This is one of Teyte's greatest records: the weight of sadness she brings to the poem by Charles Cros, with its tragic "II est devenu mon amant", is reason enough to buy this new compilation, even if you already have the four-LP set, "L'Exquise Maggie Teyte" (HMV, 10/76—nla); in all there are II songs here that are not included on that set.

The Duparc songs are superbly dramatic. Teyte wrote that "the deeper shades of pastel" were not enough for song recitals and that a singer needed to use as much power and expression as for opera. The first CD ends with her famous recording of Ravel's Shéherazade. Teyte was 60 when this performance was recorded, with the orchestra of the Royal Opera House conducted by Hugo Rignold. Felix Aprahamian in his affectionate essay in the booklet recalls Teyte "thrilling audiences" with the top B hat in "Asie"—her deep understanding of this cycle makes hers a fascinating version, even if at first those brought up on later, more expansive recordings may find it a little cool.

All the items on the second CD are accompanied by Gerald Moore (Teyte's recordings of Debussy songs with Alfred Cortot were reissued on a previous Références issue, 8/88—nia). In her autobiography she lamented the passing of "the lost art of the musicale". What she meant was the chance of intimate contact between artist and audience in a drawing-room—something she achieves immediately in the opening Elégie of Massenet. Then flow 13 songs by Faure; of these, the Victor Hugo L'absent is particularly impressive, with a rare harsh accent employed on the final "un cerceuil". Soir was a special favourite of Dame Maggie'sshe had once sung it with Fauré as her accompanist—"Bravo, ma petite!" he exclaimed afterwards.

There is not a single piece on this set that does not merit attention, and each song reveals something of Teyte's art. She claimed that her stamina and the length of her career were due to Jean de Reszke's teaching and to her study of Mozart and modern music; she approached the latter with the same fidelity as is essential in Mozartian singing. When she first sang Zerlina and Cherubino in Paris in 1906, the conductor was Reynaldo Hahn, and the CD ends with five of his melodies.

Despite the excellent clarity of Teyte's diction, I wish EM! had included at least the texts of the songs; translations would be a luxury as well. The sound is on the whole excellent, although here and there, especially in Fauré's Dans les ruines dune abbaye, which I compared with the original 78 as well as the LP version, the extra brightness afforded by the new transfer gives an impression of a painting that has been cleaned—the colours are more brilliant, but some of the detail in shading has been lost. Nothing, though, should deter those who have never heard Teyte in French song from snapping this up—if you want to sample just one track, try Duparc's Chanson triste, in which Teyte and Moore achieve an intensity which owes nothing to over-stressing the emotion. Dame Maggie described Moore as the "unrivalled recording accompanist" and warned that "if the singer is not up to his standard, it is the singer who will be eclipsed". No chance of that where Maggie Teyte was concerned.

-- Gramophone [10/1994]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Les nuits d'été, Op. 7: no 2, Le spectre de la rose by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Conductor:  Leslie Heward
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; France 
Date of Recording: 07/31/1940 
Venue:  London, England 
Language: French 
2.
Les nuits d'été, Op. 7: no 4, Absence by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Conductor:  Leslie Heward
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840-1841; France 
Date of Recording: 07/31/1940 
Venue:  London, England 
Language: French 
3.
Mélodies (7), Op. 2: no 3, Les papillons by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; France 
Date of Recording: 11/15/1944 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Language: French 
4.
Mélodies (7), Op. 2: no 7, Le colibri by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; France 
Date of Recording: 07/07/1943 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
Language: French 
5.
Poème de l'amour et de la mer, Op. 19: no 1, La fleur des eaux by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Conductor:  Leighton Lucas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882-1890; France 
Date of Recording: 07/07/1946 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
6.
Poème de l'amour et de la mer, Op. 19: no 3a, La mort de l'amour by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Conductor:  Leighton Lucas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882-1890; France 
Date of Recording: 07/07/1946 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
7.
Poème de l'amour et de la mer, Op. 19: no 3b, Le temps de lilas by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano), James Whitehead (Cello)
Conductor:  Leighton Lucas
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882-1890; France 
Date of Recording: 07/07/1946 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
8.
Chanson perpétuelle, Op. 37 by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Blech String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; France 
Date of Recording: 09/02/1943 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
9.
L'invitation au voyage by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Conductor:  Leslie Heward
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1870; France 
Date of Recording: 07/31/1940 
Venue:  London, England 
10.
Phidylé by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Conductor:  Leslie Heward
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1882; France 
Date of Recording: 07/31/1940 
Venue:  London, England 
11.
Chanson triste by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1868; France 
Date of Recording: 04/17/1941 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
12.
Extase by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 08/01/1941 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
13.
Épigrammes (2) de Clément Marot by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1896-1899; France 
Date of Recording: 03/13/1944 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
14.
Histoires naturelles: no 4, Le martin-pêcheur by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906; France 
Date of Recording: 10/05/1947 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
15.
Shéhérazade by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano), George Ackroyd (Flute)
Conductor:  Hugo Rignold
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; France 
Date of Recording: 07/1948 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
16.
Elégie by Jules Massenet
Performer:  James Whitehead (Cello), Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1869; France 
Date of Recording: 07/20/1944 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
17.
Dans les ruines d'une abbaye, Op. 2 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1866; France 
Date of Recording: 01/16/1942 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
18.
Lydia, Op. 4 no 2 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1870; France 
Date of Recording: 02/10/1943 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
19.
L'absent, Op. 5 no 3 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; France 
Date of Recording: 05/28/1942 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
20.
Après un rêve, Op. 7 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; France 
Date of Recording: 03/26/1941 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
21.
Ici bas!, Op. 8 no 3 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1874; France 
Date of Recording: 02/06/1942 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
22.
Nell, Op. 18 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; France 
Date of Recording: 02/10/1943 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
23.
Le secret, Op. 23 no 3 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880-1881; France 
Date of Recording: 12/05/1941 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
24.
Les roses d'Ispahan, Op. 39 no 4 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; France 
Date of Recording: 05/28/1942 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
25.
Clair de lune, Op. 46 no 2 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; France 
Date of Recording: 02/06/1942 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
26.
La bonne chanson, Op. 61: no 3, La lune blanche by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1894; France 
Date of Recording: 10/05/1947 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
27.
La bonne chanson, Op. 61: no 5, J'ai presque peur, en vérité by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1894; France 
Date of Recording: 10/05/1947 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
28.
La bonne chanson, Op. 61: no 9, L'hiver a cessé by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1894; France 
Date of Recording: 05/28/1942 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
29.
Soir, Op. 83 no 2 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; France 
Date of Recording: 01/16/1942 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
30.
Ariettes oubliées: no 5, Green by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1886; France 
Date of Recording: 04/17/1941 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
31.
Deux romances: no 1, L'âme évaporée by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1891; France 
Date of Recording: 02/10/1944 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
32.
Beau soir by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1880; France 
Date of Recording: 02/10/1944 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
33.
Poèmes (5) de Baudelaire: no 3, Le jet d'eau by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1889; France 
Date of Recording: 08/14/1940 
Venue:  London, England 
34.
Proses lyriques: no 1, De rêve by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892; France 
Date of Recording: 08/14/1940 
Venue:  London, England 
35.
Proses lyriques: no 3, De fleurs by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1893; France 
Date of Recording: 08/14/1940 
Venue:  London, England 
36.
Proses lyriques: no 4, De soir by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1893; France 
Date of Recording: 08/14/1940 
Venue:  London, England 
37.
Mélodies (20), Volume 1: Si mes vers avaient des ailes by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Gerald Moore (Piano), Maggie Teyte (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1888; France 
Date of Recording: 03/26/1941 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
38.
Chansons grises (7): no 5, L'heure exquise by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1893; France 
Date of Recording: 04/17/1941 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
39.
Mélodies (20), Volume 1: Offrande by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1891; France 
Date of Recording: 04/17/1941 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
40.
Chansons grises (7): no 4, En sourdine by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1893; France 
Date of Recording: 08/22/1941 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 
41.
Études latines: Belle lune d'argent by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Maggie Teyte (Soprano), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Date of Recording: 11/15/1944 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studios, London 

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