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Two fantastic Fauré collections, both richly imagined and poetic are must listens for fans and newcomers a like
Repertoire: Mélodies; La chanson d’Eve; Les jardin clos
Artists: Karine Deshayes (mezzo), Hélène Lucas (piano), Stéphane Degout (baritone)
Label: ZigZag Territoires ZZT 090902
Artists: Yann Beuron (tenor), Billy Eidi (piano)
Label: Timpani 1C1162
What a treat - two Fauré discs - one from a mezzo-soprano, the other a tenor, both of them French singers who know exactly what to do with the composer’s elusive style and, moreover, enunciate the poetry with ideal diligence. Fauré’s late song-cycles Les jardin clos and La chanson d’Eve have never achieved the popularity of the earlier La bonne chanson, but their subtle, exploratory beauties could scarcely have a better advocate than the young mezzo Karine Deshayes. Her tone is substantial yet pure, with perfect intonation, a superbly controlled vibrato and a great deal of passion which is put entirely at the service of that Fauréan pudeur that veils his own thread of intense sensuality. The selection of Mélodies are well-chosen to match the perfumed, somewhat pre-Raphaelite qualities of those clear-textured evocations of nature, beauty, love and death. The pianist is slightly over-heavy, but that’s a small quibble.
Yann Beuron has one of those distinctively beautiful, high-set French tenor tones, plus a sensitivity to nuance that should take him far. He has arranged his selection of songs in journey from turbulence to peace; highlights include the richly imagined Cinq Mélodies de Venise, some of Fauré’s finest Verlaine settings which Beuron delivers with strong emotion and judicious phrasing. Both he and Deshayes strike an excellent balance that presents post-romantic sensuality without sentimentality, purity without preciousness and tempi that do not lag or sag; each treats the music with affection and deep understanding, while making it their own. Encore!