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The narrators are two gifted children, the pianist Alezandre Tharaud, whose acute playing has sparked the series. Set for narrator and small ensemble and originally improvised to please the composer's three-year old cousin, the tale of Babar the Elephant receives a charming performance from Alexandre Tharaud and friends with child narrators on this fifth instalment of Naxos's chamber-music series.
The original soundtrack for Neil LaBute's Nurse Betty features innocent, classic pop songs that capture the sweetly delusional state of the film's title character. Jula De Palma and Pink Martini's versions of the lighthearted standard "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera Sera)" bookend songs like Ricky Nelson's "Poor Little Fool," Ann-Margret's "Slowly," and Della Reese's "Don't You Know," and selections from Rolfe Kent's quirky original score complete this enjoyable companion to one of 2000's most unique films.
Naxos’ first-rate edition of Poulenc’s complete chamber music continues with this very fine collection of shorter pieces and song cycles for voice and small ensemble. Baritone Franck Leguérinel turns in a smashing performance of Le Bal masqué from its manic opening Air de bravoure to the hysterical falsetto antics in the closing Caprice. He’s equally fine in Le Bestiaire, but the cruel vocal line and harmonic acerbities of the Max Jacob songs prove less congenial, though he’s no less stylistically assured.
This moody yet self-deprecating singer/songwriter's album will be nothing new to fans that have followed the long arc of Lloyd Cole's career. One listen to "What's Wrong with This Picture" – which offers the sentiment "'Smile,' she said, 'If you want I'll look the other way/Til you regain your melancholy disposition or until you get over yourself'" over a bright guitar figure – places longtime fans on familiar ground. Cole's uncanny melodic ear is also still in place. What is new, however, is his return to fronting a full-time band after spending his post-Commotions years (they split in 1988) as a fairly singular figure. The Negatives includes such talent as Jill Sobule ("I Kissed a Girl") and one-time Dambuilder Dave Derby, and the merry-band-of-thieves ethic seems to lend some levity to the proceedings…
Violinist Didier Lockwood tackled a formidable task by dedicating an entire CD to the legendary violinist Stephane Grappelli, who died just shy of his 90th birthday in December, 1997. Although Grappelli's influence on his playing is obvious at times, he is no carbon copy. He generally has a darker tone and doesn't use nearly as many up-tempo runs. With two brilliant partners, bassist Niels Pedersen (who worked with Grappelli on a few dates) and guitarist Birelli Lagrene, Lockwood does a credible job.