Fauré - Mirages and la Chanson d'Ève

Both listener and performer have been so long attached to the songs Fauré wrote in the period 1860-1890 that it seems to have prevented us from embracing his later, and far more satisfying, works. Lydia, Clair de lune, Après un rêve and about twenty other songs from Fauré’s early and middle years have achieved high status, and rightly so; as far as individual songs go they are the best of the best. But concert audiences will only occasionally encounter one of the late cycles, perhaps Mirages, rarely the complete La Bonne chanson and even less likely Fauré’s perfectly executed final utterance L’Horizon chimérique. Performances of the main work presented here – La Chanson d’Ève – are rarer than hens’ teeth. How this twenty-four minute masterpiece has so completely slipped the net is a mystery and a tragedy. During the planning stages for this recital Charlotte de Rothschild and I both mention to colleagues that we were learning the work and we became used to the response – ‘never heard it, actually never even heard of it’. It was impossible to be too smug since we had only discovered the work ourselves a few months earlier. Adrian Farmer


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"Miss de Rothschild brings her own accomplishment to these songs and there’s no doubting her commitment to Fauré’s music. The performers are nicely recorded with the voice well balanced against the piano. Adrian Farmer is not only a skilled and insightful accompanist but also provides excellent and enthusiastic notes about the songs." John Quinn, musicweb-international.com

"These songs are nothing short of wonderful and the CD is worth its price just for these five gems (Cinq melodies de Venise) from Paul Verlaine, a poet admired by the composer. Both performers are superlative in this set but that excellence pervades the whole recital." David Wright, June 2014, http://www.wrightmusic.net/pdfs/cd-review-112-faure-mirages-la-chanson-deve-rothschild.pdf

Fine control is brought to Paradis the opening song from the substantial song cycle, La Chanson d’Eve, Op.95 (1906-10), (The Song of Eve) a setting of texts by Charles Van Lerberghe portraying the dawn of creation. de Rothschild handles the somewhat difficult word setting so well with some exquisite playing from Farmer. Prima verba (First words) is another lovely song, beautifully realised by de Rothschild and Farmer with the text ‘Limpid air of paradise, With your ruby clusters, With your sheaves of light, With your roses and your fruits.’ is so well conjured. The delicate Roses ardentes (Fiery roses) is a lovely song, sung with fine control, de Rothschild rising to the climax brilliantly. Both artists handle all the little turns of Comme Dieu rayonne (How radiant God is) perfectly before a very fine L’Aube blanche (The white dawn). After the difficult setting of Eau vivante (spring water), wonderfully realised, we have the no less challenging Veilles-tu, ma senteur de soleil? (Are you awake, my aroma of sun) with its difficult vocal part, so well sung combined with a tricky, rhythmic piano motive. The very fine Dans un parfum de roses blanches (In a perfume of white roses) brings some lovely singing from de Rothschild before a beautiful performance of the exquisite Créspuscule (Twilight) so sensitive and full of subtlety. The darker Ô mort, poussière d’étoiles (O death, stardust) makes an impressive end to this cycle of songs, with Charlotte de Rothschild extracting so much feeling and finely accompanied by Adrian Farmer. Charlotte de Rothschild seems ideally suited to this repertoire, in the gentler songs providing a particularly lovely French, youthful timbre. Add to this the particularly sensitive accompaniment from Adrian Farmer, who also provides excellent booklet notes, and you have a disc that will bring much pleasure. Bruce Reader, www.theclassicalreviewer.blogspot.co.uk

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