These days Elly Ameling can be relied on to give us more interesting programmes on record than any of her contemporaries. She proves that again in the offering under consideration. She judiciously marries the familiar with the relatively unfamiliar in this recital of melodies, and brings to her choice an intelligence and understanding that must come from close knowledge of her chosen songs.
Of the well-known repertory, she gives readings of the Debussy and Faure items that are among the more distinguished I have heard of late. The composers' settings of Mandoline are aptly contrasted, but that by Faure, my favourite, receives a particularly pointed performance, with words and music in fine accord. She revives Franck'sRead more Nocturne, a piece done so well in the past by Panzera and Souzay, with just the right dreamy evocation of night's mystery and beauty, and then fills Poulenc's sensual C'est ainsi que tu es with the languorous feeling Bernac used to give it. I would not suggest that she has quite the feeling for the texts that these French interpreters evinced, but her line is perhaps more secure than theirs. Similarly, the Chausson is full of the sadness of a love that has died forever. In the songs by Bizet, Gounod, Roussel and Satie, she adopts a lighter, teasing manner that is wholly winning.
She does a service by putting an entry into the catalogue for Duparc's Mignon setting (same text as Wolf's Kennst du das Land), which was withdrawn by the composer after it was published in 1870.
One can see why he was dissatisfied with it, while being pleased to have it revived in such an appreciative performance. The quirky songs of Messiaen, Caplet and Satie are also welcome to the catalogue. But what is the use of Philips recording them and then not providing essential texts and translations? That surely represents a marketing failure. Felix Aprahamian, however, comes to the rescue to an extent with his well-researched notes.
Jansen's positive and splendidly played accompaniments are a constant source of pleasure and the recording, especially on CD, is truthful and forward. This is likely to be one of my records of the year.'
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