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Italian Love Songs / Anna Leese, Stephen De Pledge

Bellini / Leese / Pledge
Release Date: 02/26/2013 
Label:  Champs Hill Records   Catalog #: 50   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Vincenzo BelliniGiacomo PucciniFrancesco Paolo TostiGaetano Donizetti,   ... 
Performer:  Stephen de PledgeAnna LeeseThorsten [Tenor Vocal] Buttner
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 47 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



ITALIAN LOVE SONGS Anna Leese (sop); Stephen De Pledge (pn) CHAMPS HILL 050 (47:30 Text and Translation)


Selections by: BELLINI, PUCCINI, TOSTI, DONIZETTI, SAVIONI


It is difficult to discuss Italian songs of the 19th and early 20th century without mentioning opera. Unlike the most famous purveyors of German Lieder, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, and even Beethoven, many of the most famous Italian love songs of the era were in Read more the form of opera arias. Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835) and Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) wrote only a handful of songs for piano and voice; their most famous melodies are to be found in their operas. Only Gaetano Donizetti of the opera composers heard here wrote many songs, but then he also wrote many operas as well, and the quality of the songs vary as much as the quality of the operas. Only Francesco Paolo Tosti (1846-1916) of the composers on this disc really applied most of his efforts to song writing, but to call him an Italian composer is like calling Handel a German one, both men made their living writing Italian style music for the consumption of the British in London. Tosti wrote much of the most popular music of his time.


One thing about Italian songs is they are usually melodic, and New Zealand soprano Anna Leese presents a program of non-operatic, but quite tuneful ones here. Some may be odds and ends and throw-away pieces by composers usually busy with stage works, but they are all well crafted and enjoyable to the ear. Most do not really much challenge the soprano’s range or vocal agility, but Leese sings them well, with a bright, clean tone. She has a nice ability to float high notes softly and caress them with her voice. Like many young singers she has a tendency to let changes in modulation substitute for other forms of vocal coloring, but then, there is just so much emotion you can display in a three-minute love song. Some are even shorter.


Piano accompaniments are generally kept quite simple, pianist Stephen De Pledge does a nice job of staying out of the soprano’s way and letting the music showcase her voice. The bonus selection presented, a duet by Mario Savioni, “Fugga fugg’Amor” is really the oddity here. It was written 150 to 200 years before the others and belongs to a different era, that of the early Baroque. Leese sings it nicely with the assistance of tenor Thorsten Buttner. The CD booklet contains an informative essay about the composers and the selections as well as song lyrics in both Italian and English. My only concern is the relative brevity of the program, it seems Leese could have learned a couple more Italian songs just to provide fair value. Not an essential acquisition then, but a pleasant way to spend the better part of an hour.


FANFARE: Bill White
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Works on This Recording

1.
Il fervido desiderio by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Stephen de Pledge (Piano), Anna Leese ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 2 Minutes 8 Secs. 
2.
Dolente immagine di Fille mia by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Anna Leese (), Stephen de Pledge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1824; Italy 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 2 Minutes 58 Secs. 
3.
Vaga luna che inargenti by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Anna Leese (), Stephen de Pledge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
4.
La farfalletta by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Anna Leese (), Stephen de Pledge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1813; Italy 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
5.
Ma rendi pur contento by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Anna Leese (), Stephen de Pledge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
6.
Terra e mare by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Anna Leese (), Stephen de Pledge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Italy 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 2 Minutes 7 Secs. 
7.
E l'uccellino by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Anna Leese (), Stephen de Pledge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899; Italy 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 1 Minutes 32 Secs. 
8.
Storiella d'amore by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Anna Leese (), Stephen de Pledge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Italy 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 6 Minutes 37 Secs. 
9.
Sole e amore by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Anna Leese (), Stephen de Pledge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Italy 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 1 Minutes 59 Secs. 
10.
Sogno by Francesco Paolo Tosti
Performer:  Anna Leese (), Stephen de Pledge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Italy 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 3 Minutes 12 Secs. 
11.
Canzoni-stornelli (3): no 3, Luna d'estate by Francesco Paolo Tosti
Performer:  Stephen de Pledge (Piano), Anna Leese ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Italy 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
12.
Sull'onda cheta e bruna, barcarola for 2 voices & piano by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Anna Leese (), Stephen de Pledge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 1 Minutes 27 Secs. 
13.
Amiamo ("Or che l'eta ne invita"), canzonetta for voice & piano by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Anna Leese (), Stephen de Pledge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 3 Minutes 37 Secs. 
14.
Fugga fugg'amor, for 2 voices & continuo by Mario Savioni
Performer:  Thorsten [Tenor Vocal] Buttner (), Anna Leese (), Stephen de Pledge (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 3 Minutes 10 Secs. 
15.
Non t'amo piů, for voice & piano or orchestra, C.S. 62 by Francesco Paolo Tosti
Performer:  Stephen de Pledge (Piano), Anna Leese ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; Italy 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 5 Minutes 5 Secs. 
16.
Ideale, for voice & piano or orchestra, C.S. 47 by Francesco Paolo Tosti
Performer:  Stephen de Pledge (Piano), Anna Leese ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; Italy 
Venue:  Music Room, Champs Hill, West Sussex, UK 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 

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