A loving tribute to French Song, by one of the greatest voices. With exceptional sensibility and understanding of the French language, the renowned Swedish singer pays a loving homage to French melody and song. Known for her artistic journeys which transcend the borders of musical genre, Anne Sofie von Otter’s collaborations include those with Elvis Costello and Brad Mehldau, with whom she recorded her ‘Love Songs’ album on Naïve.
The box contains a perfect overview of VIVARTE’s legendary catalogue of ancient music ranging from Vivaldi to Brahms. Most of the recordings received critical acclaim all over the world, many of them won prestigious awards and many are reference recordings.
French group La Main Harmonique is named for the "Guidonian hand," known to generations of music history graduate students, which teaches solmization syllables by means of labeled finger joints. That suggests the basic orientation here, which is toward specialists; the booklet dutifully lists library sources but does not provide anything so helpful as translations of the 15th-century French texts (there are some almost completely black photos of the performers, though). It's nice, however, to have recordings of this secular chanson repertoire, which in the case of Johannes Ockeghem is not so well represented on recordings as his intellectually fearsome masses.
Fête Galante, a 1999 release featuring soprano Karina Gauvin and pianist Marc-André Hamelin, won numerous awards, and the outstanding performances on this 2011 reissue confirm how well-deserved those honors were. Gauvin has an exceptional voice – clarion-bright, warm, confident, and agile, with a variegated palette of colors – and her effortlessly incisive interpretive skills give depth and life to everything she sings. The distinctiveness and character she brings to these songs show a terrific grasp of the genre of the mélodie, from the late 19th century songs by Fauré and the young Debussy to the mid-20th works by Poulenc, Honegger, and Émile Vuillermoz. The CD demonstrates her range with the zany comedy of Poulenc's "Paganini" followed immediately by the intensely poignant multi-layered sadness of the composer's profound "C." Throughout, Gauvin's tone is ravishingly pure and she soars gloriously in the more lyrical songs.
Two classic easy-listening albums by Paul Mauriat and His Orchestra, originally released in 1977 on the Philips label, together on one CD and remastered from the original analogue stereo tapes for Vocalion's trademark crystal-clear sound.
Excellent addition to any celtic-folk music collection.