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Debussy: Poemes / Stella Doufexis, Daniel Heide

Debussy / Doufexis / Heide
Release Date: 06/11/2013 
Label:  Berlin Classics   Catalog #: 300524   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Claude Debussy
Performer:  Stella DoufexisDaniel Heide
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



DEBUSSY Poèmes Stella Doufexis (mez); Daniel Heide (pn) BERLIN 0300524 (59:19)


It is sometimes a shock to hear a mezzo sing this music, especially when we have had the bright-toned Debussy albums from Natalie Dessay on Virgin Classics and from Lorna Anderson and Lisa Milne on Hyperion so recently, but what a lovely discovery the Greek-German Stella Doufexis is. Her textually aware, warm-toned, luminous mezzo doesn’t weigh the material down at all, given that many of the songs were written with the Read more coloratura muse Marie-Blanche Vasnier in mind. Indeed, what pour out of the album are hidden depths to these sensual works.


This hour-long program neatly covers the full extent of Debussy’s song writing career, sung pretty much chronologically, from his teenage gems like the 1880’s Nuit d’etoiles , to the three Stéphane Mallarmé settings of 1913, where the piano writing becomes far more sophisticated and harmonically complex. Doufexis adapts mercurially to the conflicting challenges of each song; playful and alluring in Clair de lune , rapt and wheedling in Crois mon conseil, chère Climène , and wide-eyed and girlish in Fleur de blés . Every word of the text is felt and savored, but never at the expense of that opaque, exquisitely colored mezzo. She ends with the five Charles Baudelaire settings from 1889, which although written midway through his life, demonstrate his most advanced, Wagnerian-tinged style. She is breathtaking and ethereal in the tailing off of Harmonie de soir , and she is intimate rather than cold and distant in the elusive La mort des amants.


Doufexis’s diction throughout is exemplary, and she knows how to color and inflect her tone to great effect. Now and then, like in Les cloches , there are some strained top notes, but these blemishes are minor. She can never replace the soprano greats in this repertoire, but what a lovely new angle she finds on them. Daniel Heide is an animated, poised foil to Doufexis’s calm, refined interpretations. Berlin Classics’ well balanced sound is excellent, as is the lavish digipack presentation with full notes, texts and bios. A delight.


FANFARE: Barnaby Rayfield
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Works on This Recording

1.
Poèmes (5) de Baudelaire by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Stella Doufexis (Mezzo Soprano), Daniel Heide (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1887-1889; France 
2.
Poèmes (3) de Mallarmé by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Stella Doufexis (Mezzo Soprano), Daniel Heide (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; France 
3.
Nuit d'étoiles by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Stella Doufexis (Mezzo Soprano), Daniel Heide (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1880; France 
4.
Le promenoir des deux amants by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Stella Doufexis (Mezzo Soprano), Daniel Heide (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904-1910; France 
5.
Fleur des blés by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Stella Doufexis (Mezzo Soprano), Daniel Heide (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1880; France 
6.
Fêtes galantes, Set 1 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Stella Doufexis (Mezzo Soprano), Daniel Heide (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1891; France 
7.
Deux romances: no 2, Les cloches by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Stella Doufexis (Mezzo Soprano), Daniel Heide (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1891; France 
8.
Deux romances: no 1, L'âme évaporée by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Stella Doufexis (Mezzo Soprano), Daniel Heide (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1891; France 

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