Monday, 19 June 2017

Carolyn Sampson in French Mélodies

French song is not as “popular” as German song. However, I have long been a fan of French mélodies, so I snapped up a new CD of French songs sung by one of my current favourite singers, Carolyn Sampson. The CD has 33 mélodies, all featuring the poems of Paul Verlaine, with quite a few settings of the same poems by different composers. The overall standard of the music from the ten composers featured is high, though inevitably some stand out more than others. There are surprises: I greatly liked the setting of Paysages tristes by someone unknown to me, Déodat de Séverac.

The French language, a frequent hurdle for non-native singers, sounds pretty secure in the voice of Carolyn Sampson (a quick look at a YouTube interview in French shows she has a pretty good command of the language). 80 very pleasant minutes. Joseph Middleton sounds an excellent accompanist on the piano, and BIS produces a clear and well-balanced recording. Another esteemed acquisition.

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