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Mélodies Françaises / Holzmair, Wyss


Release Date: 01/28/1997 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 446686   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gabriel FauréHenri DuparcMaurice Ravel
Performer:  Wolfgang HolzmairGérard Wyss
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

There have been quite a few French-speaking singers who have made their mark in Lieder. (Souzay, Crespin, more recently Pallet and van Dam, come to mind.) The two-way traffic has been pretty spare; of course Fischer-Dieskau recorded Debussy, Ravel and even Meyerbeer, but one cannot imagine many of his contemporaries giving more than a nod during the encores to the melodies.

Holzmair begins charmingly with the two songs from Edmond Haraucourt's Shylock (a "butchering of The Merchant of Venice", as the notes describe it). While there is no discernible German accent, and the lightness of tone and smooth phrasing immediately suggest a singer of refinement, he has a way of stressing the final syllables which isn't very
Read more French.

Poeme d'un jour, perhaps the shortest and potentially most effective song-cycle here, benefits from Holzmair's approach. "The sadness of Faure's interpreters is terrible," lamented Claire Croiza in her lectures on singing. She stressed that La bonne chanson is about happiness to come — it shouldn't sound melancholy. Holzmair doesn't fall into that trap, and it's an enjoyable interpretation of this much-recorded work. (For the opposite, heavier, dramatic approach, hear Tom Krause with Malcolm Martineau on Vol. 3 of the complete Faure songs on CRD.)

Renee de Brimont, author of the four poems that Faure set in 1918, when he was 73, as Mirages, is one of those shadowy Proustian figures (she translated a volume of Ta,gore's poetry) about whom one knows too little. The first three songs do need a more reflective, nostalgic approach and this certainly suits Holzmair. What's missing is that elusive quality of colouring the words to suggest mystery or eroticism. Listen to him sing the line in the final song of the group, about the dancer, "Pieds etroits-fuyants tels des ailes nues, Qu'Eros &couple" ("Slender feet fleeing like naked wings, Loosed by Eros"), then compare it with Souzay's later recording with Dalton Baldwin on EMI (4/92). The pace is slower with Souzay, but he is thus able to relish the little flourish on the word "nues" and he stresses "Eros", rather than "clecouple". It is this subtlety of shading that lifts the poem into the song; the words belong to the era of Loie Fuller and romantic decadence, out of fashion with our time, but worth exploring.

Again, in the Duparc group, Holzmair's light approach is good for Serenade, but in this muchrecorded repertory his interpretations yield to numerous others. The Ravel Greek songs make a good finish to the recital. Gerard Wyss seems to relish these songs as well, they are the best part of the disc; the sound is good, the recording was made at St John's, Smith Square in London.

-- Gramophone [5/1997]
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Works on This Recording

1. Shylock Suite, Op. 57: no 1, Chanson by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone), Gérard Wyss (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; France 
Language: French 
2. Shylock Suite, Op. 57: no 2, Madrigal by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone), Gérard Wyss (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; France 
Language: French 
3. Prison, Op. 83 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone), Gérard Wyss (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; France 
Language: French 
4. La bonne chanson, Op. 61 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone), Gérard Wyss (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1894; France 
Language: French 
5. Mirages, Op. 113 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone), Gérard Wyss (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1919; France 
Language: French 
6. Sérénade by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone), Gérard Wyss (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1869; France 
Language: French 
7. Chanson triste by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone), Gérard Wyss (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1868; France 
Language: French 
8. Le manoir de Rosemonde by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone), Gérard Wyss (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1879; France 
Language: French 
9. Soupir by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Gérard Wyss (Piano), Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1869; France 
Language: French 
10. Extase by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone), Gérard Wyss (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Language: French 
Notes: Composition written: France (1874).
Composition revised: France (?1884). 
11. L'invitation au voyage by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone), Gérard Wyss (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1870; France 
Language: French 
12. Mélodies populaires grecques (5) by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Gérard Wyss (Piano), Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904-1906; France 
Language: French 
13. Mélodies (5), Op. 58 "de Venise": no 2, En sourdine by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone), Gérard Wyss (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; France 
Language: French 
14. Poème d'un jour, Op. 21 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Wolfgang Holzmair (Baritone), Gérard Wyss (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; France 
Language: French 

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