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Un Frisson Français - A century of French song
Undoubtedly ONYX’s highlight of the year is the first recital disc for 5 years by the great American mezzo Susan Graham. Beloved by audiences the world over, this outstanding recording is sure to be much in demand worldwide.
The unique programme provides a celebration of French song in an unusual way – instead of groups of songs by several composers Susan has opted for a single song by 22 different composers from Bizet to Poulenc. This is the programme she and Malcolm Martineau her regular accompanist took on tour in the USA and Europe in 2007/2008. Reviews were unanimous “confirms Susan Graham as the ideal package she is” (Music Web) “resistance is futile” (New York Times); superb, exquisite (Chicago Tribune)
Susan Graham is particularly at home in French repertoire, one of the few non-French singers recognised by the French themselves when they made her a Commandeur dans L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Susan refutes the idea that all French vocal music sounds the same: "This programme has everything: loud, soft, high, low, fast, slow, romantic, acidic."
Includes some surprises- Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre for example, known by everyone as a orchestral showpiece but in fact first written as a song, but hardly ever performed as such; and some favourites such as Hahn’s À Chloris and Canteloube’s Brezairola, but far more discoveries such as the gorgeous Psyché by Paladilhe and Bachelet’s ecstatic Chère Nuit.
“With Susan Graham in radiant form and Malcolm Martineau not just an accompanist but an active partner in the project, "Un frisson français" offers a unique survey of French mélodie from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th: 22 songs… one composer. A rich collection in excellent sound: no one is likely to be disappointed.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2008
“The familiar here appears in unusual contexts and alongside a scattering of rarities. The performers are at one in their fluency, delicate rubato and avoidance of Anglo-Saxon archness, within an acoustic that combines intimacy and atmosphere.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2008 *****
“With Susan Graham in radiant form and Malcolm Martineau not just an accompanist but an active partner in the project, 'Un frisson français' offers a unique survey of French mélodie from the mid–19th century to the mid–20th: 22 songs…one per composer.
Martineau describes the plan as a 'tasting menu', starting with Gounod, to whom he ascribes the launching of the genre of French mélodie. Even Ravel said that Gounod was 'the true founder of the mélodie in France' and his song 'Au rossignol' ('To the Nightingale') is included in the first of five sections – 'founding fathers', including Bizet, Franck, Lalo and Saint–Saëns. It is fascinating to hear the original version with piano of 'Danse macabre', Graham marvellously biting.
Martineau describes the sequence as 'loosely chronological', and one beauty of the scheme is that rare and forgotten composers are included, such as Paladilhe and Bachelet who are represented in late–Romantic mélodies with night and nature dominating themes. The third group – including Ravel and Debussy – takes us into the 20th century. Especially fascinating is André Caplet's setting of 'Le corbeau et le renard' ('The Crow and the Fox') with elaborate piano accompaniment.
Only rare songs are chosen for each composer and perhaps Martineau chose some of them for the colourful accompaniments, as in Chausson's fluttering accompaniment for his picture of the butterfly in 'Le papillon'. The fourth section has childhood as a common theme and the climactic section has only one song, much the longest, Poulenc's 'La dame de Monte-Carlo', to words by Jean Cocteau. It is like an encapsulated version of the operatic monodrama La voix humaine with the singer on the verge of a breakdown.
A rich collection in excellent sound: no one is likely to be disappointed.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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Susan Graham - French Songs
Recorded at Verbier Festival, July 2009
This series of TV programmes presents the very best of the 16th Verbier Festival with worldwide renowned artists such as Susan Graham, Martha Argerich, Yuri Temirkanov, Stephen Kovacevich, and Philippe Jaroussky.
Together with Malcolm Martineau on the piano, the Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Susan Graham features a fascinating compilation of well-known French composers.
Both have also toured with the program - comprising nearly two dozen songs by as many composers - to great acclaim. The recital Graham and Martineau gave this past summer at the Verbier Festival in French-speaking Switzerland brought down the house.
Being Musical America’s 2004 Vocalist of the year, Graham is well-known as an expert in French melodies. The genre is known as a very tricky one, but she presents the songs with a fascinating jewel-like clarity and gleaming tone. Martineau is the perfect counter-part who adds some finely judged French seasoning.
Picture format DVD: NTSC 16:9
Sounds formats DVD: PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1
Region code: 0
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 60 min
“An hour of pure delight...Graham is utterly at home in this repertoire an performs it with élan...Martineau is the perfect partner throughout, perfectly jusging depth of tone, moving as one with Graham and displaying the same level of control...with a gentle smile, Hahn's sublime 'À Chloris' surpasses all that has come before.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2010 *****
BBC Music Magazine
DVD Choice - December 2010
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Honegger - Rugby
Alpha bring down from the archive shelves at Radio France, a series of recordings related to the composer, director and pianist Arthur Honegger.The wax engravings of Rugby or Pacific 2.3.1 symphonic movements are famous (or at least known) but music and record lovers will covet this rare Decca version of Symphony No.3 'Liturgique' under the direction of the author. Also to be discovered are fifteen rare melodies, presented and sung here by voices chosen by Honegger, all the more interesting since the composer himself sat at the piano. A priceless window onto the world of Arthur Honegger.
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Visions Intérieures (Internal Visions)
The Developing Song Cycle. Disc A: The Early German Song Cycle; Disc B: The Wanderer.
Georgine Resick (soprano), Warren Jones (piano), Andrew Willis (fortepiano)
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Honegger: Chamber Music
Violin Sonata No. 1, H 17
Sonata for Solo Violin, H 143
Violin Sonata No. 2, H 24
Morceau de Concours
Violin Sonata No. 0, H 3
Arioso for Violin and Piano
Sonatina for Two Violins, H 29
Sonatina for Violin and Cello, H 80
Paduana for Solo Cello
Cello Sonata, H 32
Prélude pour Contrebasse and Piano
Viola Sonata, H 28
Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano, H 42
Rapsodie for 2 Flutes, Clarinet and Piano
Danse de la chèvre
Romance for Flute and Piano
Petite Suite for 2 treble instruments & piano
Introduction et Danse
for flute, harp, violin, viola and cello
Intrada for trumpet in C and piano
Hommage du Trombone, Exprimant la Tristesse de l'Auteur Absent
String Quartet "J'avais un Fidèle Amant"
Chanson de Ronsard
Trois Chansons de la Petite Sirène H 63
String Quartets Nos. 1, 2 & 3
Easter in New York