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Canteloube is a composer whose reputation today is based on a tiny number of works.
Just as, in England, Butterworth was good friends with the more prominent Vaughan Williams, with whom he shared a passion for his country’s folk songs, Canteloube had fellow composer and teacher D’indy to nourish his passion for native French songs. Even when he was living in Paris, Canteloube founded his own offshoot of the Paris Auvergne Society which he called the Bourée – a group of like-minded artists keen to keep the music and arts of the Auvergne region alive. For Canteloube, however, there was the peasant’s way of enjoying folk songs and then there was the artist’s way. He felt that his Songs of the Auvergne fell very much into this latter category, with their rich orchestrations and sumptuous harmonies. They were in fact a million miles away from some of the simple ‘melody and musette’ settings he transcribed and published.
Veronique Gens (soprano); Orchestre National de Lille; Jean-Claude Casadeseus (conductor). Naxos 8557491.
Illustration: Mark Millington