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Serate Musicali - Joan Sutherland, Richard Bonynge


Release Date: 11/14/2006 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 000765402   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gaetano DonizettiGiuseppe VerdiVincenzo BelliniDomenico Cimarosa,   ... 
Performer:  Dame Joan SutherlandRichard Bonynge
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Imagine an invitation to hear Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge performing French and Italian drawing-room songs in their own home, and that is very much the atmosphere behind this generally delightful collection. In the early days of her recording career Sutherland included near forgotten trifles in her multi-disc collections, and this simply expands their lighter side. The title, "Serate musicali" (or in French, "Soirees musicales") comes from the Rossini collection of eight songs which makes up the greater part of the first record, some of them known through Britten's Rossini arrangements for ballet. La danza, the "Tarantella Napoletana", has of course been well-known all along, and another really lively Read more song from the group, the "Tirolese"—La pastorella deli Alpi, with its coloratura use of a yodelling tune—is one which everyone will recognize too.

Otherwise, this is not a collection of popular favourites so much as a voyage of period rediscovery. After the "Serate musicali" there are three more Rossini songs—actually not all on the same record which is perhaps a pity. They include the virtuoso exercise in a song on one note, Adieux a la vie!—surprisingly wide-ranging in its expression considering the limitation. Otherwise, from the main group, L 'orgia, a jolly gallumphing waltz-song, not at all orgiastic, is a delight, and generally the Rossini songs are the most memorable of the items by Italian composers.

The 17 French items contained on Sides 5 and 6, mostly shorter songs, catch the feeling of drawing-room music-making too. Though the Saint-Saëns contribution, Aimons-nous, with its repeated-chord accompaniment has something of a French "Bless this House" about it, almost all the rest are completely charming, including a much more seductive setting of that same Theodore de Banville poem by Reynaldo Hahn. There is also Ferdinand David's song about swallows, Les hirondelies, improbably set in Mazurka rhythm, and the ever popular Lesfihles de Cadiz of Delibes. And if one thinks of Fauré as rather an over-refined composer, it is good here to register the bright and immediate attractions of the song about the flower envying the butterfly, Le papillon et la fleur.

If there is a weakness in the collection, it is that a large proportion of the Italian songs on Sides 3 and 4 turns out to be soulful numbers in minor keys, all of them rather too much alike to make a good programme, even when the composers' names are Bellini, Donizetti and Mascagni as well as Rossini. On this showing Bellini was more adept than Donizetti at breaking away from his purely operatic style, though after mournfulness it comes as a special delight at the end of Side 4 to have Donizettian oompahs for A mezzanotte.

It is not just the programme but the recording acoustic too which reflects the drawing room. It may well come as a shock to have sound on disc so dry, as though the performance is taking place in a well-curtained, thick-carpeted room. I have found it best to visualize such a setting, and then one can accept the sound more easily. Considering the absence of acoustic help it is amazing that Sutherland's voice keeps so much of its warmth and bloom, but it doesn't help tonal variety.

The dryness also exaggerates such vocal tricks as Sutherland's upward scoop, which in a more glamorous setting would attractively emerge as what Philip Hope-Wallace used to describe as 'whoopsing', apt enough in this repertory. In slow songs the beat in the voice is sometimes obtrusive too, but the delight of hearing Sutherland relaxing with unpretentious songs she loves, above all those that have a sparkling dash of coloratura, is what this set is about. At the piano Bonynge makes a solicitous accompanist, sometimes a shade stressed, but consistently showing the rhythmic resilience that marks his conducting.

— Gramophone [8/1981], reviewing the original LP release
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Works on This Recording

1. Il sospiro by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
2. Il poveretto by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Italy 
3. Vaga luna che inargenti by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
4. Stornello marinara by Domenico Cimarosa
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: Italy 
5. La tua stella by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; Italy 
6. A Mezzanotte by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Italy 
7. Au printemps by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; France 
8. Chanson de Florian by Benjamin Godard
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
9. Pensée d'automne by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; France 
10. Quand la bien-aimée reviendra by Nicolas-Marie Dalayrac
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Classical 
Written: France 
11. Mélodies (3): no 2, L'esclave by Edouard Lalo
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1887; France 
12. Sérénades (2): no 1, Sérénade française by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; Italy 
13. Liriche (5): I tempi assai lontani by Ottorino Respighi
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; Italy 
14. Dolente immagine di Fille mia by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1824; Italy 
15. Ariette (6) da camera: no 1, Malinconia, ninfa gentile by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; Italy 
16. Il trovatore by Amilcare Ponchielli
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
17. Ultima speme by Ernesto De Curtis
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
18. Le soir by Ambroise Thomas
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; France 
19. Aimons-nous by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; France 
20. Le papillon et la fleur, Op. 1 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861; France 
21. Pastorale by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; France 
22. Oh! si les fleurs avaient des yeux by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
23. Komm du schönes Fischermädchen by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837; Germany 
24. Les hirondelles by Félicien César David
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844-1845; France 
25. Berceuse by Cécile Louise Chaminade
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
26. Poème d'amour: no 4, Puisqu'elle a pris ma vie by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; France 
27. Les filles de Cadix by Pauline Viardot-Garcia
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
28. Mariquita by Adolphe Adam
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
29. Serate musicali by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
30. Péchés de vieillesse, Volume 2 "Album français": no 9, Adieu à la vie by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1868; Paris, France 
31. Péchés de vieillesse, Volume 2 "Album français": no 5, Chanson de Zora "La petite bohémienne" by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1868; Paris, France 
32. Péchés de vieillesse, Volume 11 "Miscellanée de musique vocale": no 7, Arietta all'antica by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Richard Bonynge (Piano), Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1857-1868; Italy 
33. Aimons-nous! by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
34. Les Filles de Cadiz "Chanson Espagnole" by Léo Delibes
Performer:  Dame Joan Sutherland (Soprano), Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 

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