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Serres Chaude / Bettina Smith, Einar Rottingen

Release Date: 02/12/2013 
Label:  Lawo Classics   Catalog #: 1008  
Composer:  Ernest ChaussonGabriel FauréCamille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Bettina SmithEinar Rottingen
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The 23 songs on this disc are not the most celebrated works of Chausson, Fauré, or Saint-Saëns, perhaps because of the relative obscurity of some of the poems or the lack of compelling melodic material we have in Le Colibri, En Sourdine, or La Cloche, respectively. They are, nevertheless profound, marvelously crafted, and subtle, placing great demands upon the artist. Bettina Smith, with her dark bell-like voice, seems to own these songs and feel a deep sympathy for the symbolist texts, but difficulty rises in the area of vocal control. Her voice is not entirely free, not entirely supple, so that the fortes tend to become strident and the pianos become somewhat breathy. However, when she is singing at a moderate dynamic level, Read more in the middle of her range where most of the music lies, these mélodies are quite engaging.

Of all the European languages, French is by far the most difficult for a non-native speaker, and there are issues here as well. Subtlety, which is at the heart of both music and verse, is circumscribed therefore by these technical and linguistic shortcomings. Still, there are many fine performances here, especially in the Saint-Saëns group. Silence and Amoroso suit the singer’s temperament and vocal capabilities very well. The range of tone, facility, and authentic style of pianist Einar Røttingen lift the entire recital to a higher standard.

-- Raymond Beegle, Fanfare [7/2012]
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Works on This Recording

Serres chaudes, Op. 24 by Ernest Chausson
Performer:  Bettina Smith (Mezzo Soprano), Einar Rottingen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893-1896; France 
Le jardin clos, Op. 106 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Bettina Smith (Mezzo Soprano), Einar Rottingen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1914; France 
La Cendre Rouge, Op. 146 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Bettina Smith (Mezzo Soprano), Einar Rottingen (Piano)

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