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Voices Of Light / Dawn Upshaw


Release Date: 08/24/2004 
Label:  Nonesuch   Catalog #: 79812   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Olivier MessiaenClaude DebussyOsvaldo GolijovGabriel Fauré
Performer:  Dawn UpshawGilbert Kalish
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The Fauré cycle (1906–10) is the main work, 10 songs in the composer’s ultra-restrained later style. Getting to the heart of this matter is like playing poker against a tight-lipped pro. Kalish tackles the minimal, inward-looking accompaniments with patience, and a soft touch, while Upshaw’s projection of the vocal line’s gentle recitative is free of theatre. She uses a limited expressive range, as the composer intended. “Eau vivante” comes closest to the charm of Fauré’s earlier melodies, but the subtle, shifting harmonies leave no place to hide, even there, and it could all have been written yesterday. Try “Crépescule,” where the simplest of innocent openings gradually thickens, with experience. Debussy’s songs are Read more also restrained, if the music of his settings is compared to the blatant eroticism of the Louÿs texts. Upshaw caresses the Debussy vocal line with more appropriate passion (rather as the two lovers attend to the “flute” in La flute de Pan) and “Le tombeau des Naïads” is successful all round.

The singer’s French diction and articulation won’t please every perfectionist, but she serves the lone foreign visitor to the recital well enough. Osvaldo Golijov was born in 1960, in Argentina, of Russian-Jewish extraction. His song about a moon drained of color was designed for this singer, and she brings her best Górecki voice to bear on the moonlit Spanishry of the vocal curves. It’s very pretty indeed, and the singer clearly loves it. Best of all, though, on this evidence, she loves to sing Messiaen. The five songs are spread across the recital like gaudy, illuminated capitals in a Book of Hours. Classics like the Felicity Palmer recording of Poèmes pour mi with Boulez are not forgotten, but it’s great to hear the songs with piano, and in a fresh context. Upshaw knows she has to rise to the declamatory challenge, different in each song, and there are no disappointments. Kalish is also fully engaged by Messiaen, and they make the Harawi pair sound like the Turangalila in miniature. “L’escalier” is a tremendous, jazzy song, maybe the highlight of the disc, but Upshaw takes on the formidable final “Résurrection” with no fear, though it’s a real Tyson of a song. Her voice is big enough and flexible enough to encompass the huge “alleluias,” but there is no strain to go with the ambition.

Messiaen’s celebration of Catholic joy has an ecstatic carnal equivalent, and his vocal line makes no attempt to hide the connection. The whole recital may be about light, spiritual and otherwise, but its other concern is with what goes on when the lights are turned out. Upshaw and Kalish could have exaggerated the sensual aspect, but they don’t, they balance everything up. Fauré doesn’t end this illuminating recital, but he has the last word, and “O mort, poussière d’étoiles” sums up love, life, and death in a couple of quiet, descending piano phrases. Fauré’s cycle is a masterpiece, which everyone should own, and this version steals further into the affections with every hearing. Good, extensive booklet notes, and a recording of the voice that sounds very much like Dawn Upshaw.

Paul Ingram, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Poèmes pour Mi: no 8, Le collier by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Dawn Upshaw (Soprano), Gilbert Kalish (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1997 
Venue:  American Institute of Art & Letters, NYC 
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: French 
2.
Chansons (3) de Bilitis: no 1, La flûte de Pan by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897-1898; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: French 
3.
Chansons (3) de Bilitis: no 2, La chevelure by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897-1898; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: French 
4.
Chansons (3) de Bilitis: no 3, Le tombeau des naïdes by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897-1898; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: French 
5.
Harawi: no 9, L'Escalier redit, gestes du soleil by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1997 
Venue:  American Institute of Art & Letters, NYC 
Length: 6 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: French 
6.
Harawi: no 10, Amour oiseau d'étoile by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1997 
Venue:  American Institute of Art & Letters, NYC 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: French 
7.
Lua descolorida by Osvaldo Golijov
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: Spanish 
8.
Poèmes pour Mi: no 9, Prière exaucée by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1997 
Venue:  American Institute of Art & Letters, NYC 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: French 
9.
La chanson d'Eve, Op. 95: no 1, Paradis by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 7 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: French 
10.
La chanson d'Eve, Op. 95: no 2, Prima verba by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: French 
11.
La chanson d'Eve, Op. 95: no 3, Roses ardentes by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Dawn Upshaw (Soprano), Gilbert Kalish (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1908; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 1 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: French 
12.
La chanson d'Eve, Op. 95: no 4, Comme Dieu rayonne by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Dawn Upshaw (Soprano), Gilbert Kalish (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: French 
13.
La chanson d'Eve, Op. 95: no 5, L'Aube blanche by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Dawn Upshaw (Soprano), Gilbert Kalish (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1908; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 1 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Language: French 
14.
La chanson d'Eve, Op. 95: no 6, Eau vivante by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 1 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: French 
15.
La chanson d'Eve, Op. 95: no 7, Veilles-tu ma senteur de soleil? by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Dawn Upshaw (Soprano), Gilbert Kalish (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 1 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: French 
16.
La chanson d'Eve, Op. 95: no 8, Dans un parfum de roses blanches by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: French 
17.
La chanson d'Eve, Op. 95: no 9, Crépuscule by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: French 
18.
La chanson d'Eve, Op. 95: no 10, O mort poussière d'etoiles by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; France 
Date of Recording: 05/2003 
Venue:  Theater C, SUNY Purchase, New York 
Length: 2 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: French 
19.
Chants de Terre et de Ciel: no 6, Résurrection by Olivier Messiaen
Performer:  Gilbert Kalish (Piano), Dawn Upshaw (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1997 
Venue:  American Institute of Art & Letters, NYC 
Length: 4 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: French 

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