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Faure, Duparc: Melodies / Cuenod, Isepp, Parsons


Release Date: 11/02/2004 
Label:  Nimbus   Catalog #: 5736   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Gabriel FauréHenri Duparc
Performer:  Martin IseppHugues CuénodGeoffrey Parsons
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A characteristically nasal voice with an individual sound that makes comparisons unprofitable.

It seems appropriate, given the recent death of Swiss tenor Hugues Cuénod (1902-2010) to remind readers of his fruitful association with Nimbus throughout the 1970s. This double disc of mélodies was recorded at various points between the years 1972 and 1978 but there is little real deterioration in Cuénod’s voice — the fact that he modestly denied having much of a voice at all should be taken with a large pinch of salt or, rather, that his characteristically nasal voice was of such an individual sound that it makes comparisons unprofitable.
 
The majority of the songs here are by
Read more Fauré, though there are eight by Duparc whose mélodies were the last to be recorded. I think one could reasonably take Après un rêve, one of the composer’s most well known songs, as an index of Cuénod’s Fauré singing. It’s sung with directness, an unruffled simplicity shorn of all artifice, and promotes clarity of textual meaning without in any way introducing artificial or intrusive vowel or consonant sounds. It is also unsentimental, unshowy singing, not at all beautiful as such, in terms of voice production, range or tone, and occasionally pinched, reedy and nasal at the top of the range. The voice nevertheless commands the greatest respect because of its sincerity of purpose.
 
Cuénod could also display commendable vigour, despite his age at the time of the recordings. There’s real youthful brio in Nell and he is careful that rhythmic suppleness is addressed in Mandoline, the first of the Verlaine set called Cinq mélodies ‘de Venise’. At his weakest, and there are few such moments, the voice takes on an insistent and too penetrating quality — Green from the same set is a culprit in this respect — and there are moments when the music calls for a greater range of tone colours and bloom than he can supply at the age of seventy, if indeed he was ever able to do so. So La bonne Chanson emerges as unevenly sung in these respects. Puisque l’aube grandit, for instance, is done with great articulacy, its meaning conveyed with adroit perception, but it’s not very warmly sung, and there’s significant strain in the voice at certain key moments. One could perhaps hardly expect otherwise, but I mention it for those as yet unfamiliar with Cuénod’s art and indeed with these particular late recordings that enshrine it.
 
At his best he evinces a confident and direct sincerity that is very telling. I particularly admired L’horizon chimérique for this quality and it’s something he brings to the Duparc too. Here we notice the change of acoustic, since he was taped at Wyastone Leys, not in the Birmingham studios. The tone is thinner still now, but the sensibility intact, the sinewy control in something like Le manoir de Rosemonde still powerfully at work. In the Duparc settings he’s accompanied by Geoffrey Parsons and in the Fauré, in their entirety, by Martin Isepp. Both were musicians of long experience and are wholly at one with Cuénod.
 
-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Mélodies (5), Op. 58 "de Venise" by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; France 
Language: French 
2.
La bonne chanson, Op. 61 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1894; France 
3.
Mirages, Op. 113 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1919; France 
Language: French 
4.
L'horizon chimérique, Op. 118 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1921; France 
Language: French 
5.
Lydia, Op. 4 no 2 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Hugues Cuénod (Tenor), Martin Isepp (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1870; France 
Language: French 
6.
Au bord de l'eau, Op. 8 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Hugues Cuénod (Tenor), Martin Isepp (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875; France 
Language: French 
7.
Après un rêve, Op. 7 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; France 
Language: French 
8.
Nell, Op. 18 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; France 
Language: French 
9.
Automne, Op. 18 no 3 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; France 
Language: French 
10.
Aurore, Op. 39 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; France 
Language: French 
11.
Les roses d'Ispahan, Op. 39 no 4 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Hugues Cuénod (Tenor), Martin Isepp (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1884; France 
Language: French 
12.
Les présents, Op. 46 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Hugues Cuénod (Tenor), Martin Isepp (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; France 
Language: French 
13.
Clair de lune, Op. 46 no 2 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; France 
Language: French 
14.
Spleen, Op. 51 no 3 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; France 
Language: French 
15.
Prison, Op. 83 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; France 
Language: French 
16.
Soir, Op. 83 no 2 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; France 
Language: French 
17.
Le parfum impérissable, Op. 76 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; France 
Language: French 
18.
Le plus doux chemin, Op. 87 no 1 "Madrigal" by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Martin Isepp (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; France 
Language: French 
19.
Chanson triste by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1868; France 
Language: French 
20.
Soupir by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1869; France 
Language: French 
21.
L'invitation au voyage by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1870; France 
Language: French 
22.
Elégie by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Hugues Cuénod (Tenor), Geoffrey Parsons (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1874; France 
Language: French 
23.
Extase by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Language: French 
Notes: Composition written: France (1874).
Composition revised: France (?1884). 
24.
Le manoir de Rosemonde by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1879; France 
Language: French 
25.
Phidylé by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1882; France 
Language: French 
26.
Lamento by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Geoffrey Parsons (Piano), Hugues Cuénod (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1883; France 
Language: French 

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