FAURÉ 'Fauré et ses poètes'

Record and Artist Details

Genre:

Vocal

Label: Harmonia Mundi

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: HMM90 2636

HMM90 2636. FAURÉ 'Fauré et ses poètes'

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
(4) Songs Anne Le Bozec
Marc Mauillon
(2) Songs Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(3) Songs Anne Le Bozec
Marc Mauillon
Sérénade du Bourgeois gentilhomme Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(2) Songs Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(5) Mélodies Anne Le Bozec
Marc Mauillon
(2) Songs Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(3) Songs Anne Le Bozec
Marc Mauillon
(3) Songs Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(2) Songs Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(3) Songs Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(3) Songs Anne Le Bozec
Marc Mauillon
(3) Songs Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(4) Songs Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(3) Songs Anne Le Bozec
Marc Mauillon
(3) Songs Anne Le Bozec
Marc Mauillon
(4) Songs Anne Le Bozec
Marc Mauillon
(3) Songs Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(3) Songs Anne Le Bozec
Marc Mauillon
(2) Songs Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(4) Songs Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(4) Songs Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
Chanson Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(Le) Don silencieux Marc Mauillon
Anne Le Bozec
(2) Songs Anne Le Bozec
Marc Mauillon
(5) Mélodies Anne Le Bozec
Marc Mauillon

The French baritone Marc Mauillon progresses from one musical time warp to another here. He is a distinctive presence in the early music community, having sung with Le Poeme Harmonique and Les Arts Florissants, been featured in more than a few French Baroque operas and, as a solo artist on Harmonia Mundi, recorded Lambert’s Leçons de Ténèbres – always a palpable vocal presence whether in an ensemble or as a soloist. Fauré feels like a perfectly natural step – and in a manner that recalls mid-20th-century Fauré recordings. Mauillon’s non-stentorian, slightly nasal sound inhabits the netherworld between tenor and baritone, and recalls the still-touchstone recordings of Camille Maurane (on the Eloquence label’s ‘The Art of Camille Maurane’, though better heard on Erato-label Fauré recordings that appear to be out of circulation).

Whether this is a voice you want to hear over a 73-minute recital is another story. Amid the internationalisation of the 1960s and ’70s, Gérard Souzay led the way towards a weightier, more resonant sound, even in early music, and that shift wasn’t always an improvement. As happy as I am to hear the Maurane/Mauillon tone quality here, some listeners, however, may find it strange – but still interpretatively satisfying. Mauillon’s sound doesn’t just serve the words; the sound is the words. With that comes an ease of expression not consistently present in Mauillon’s sometimes-reticent performances on his 2014 collection of First World War songs ‘Melodies – Prescience Conscience’ (Editions Hortus).

In addition, he and pianist Anne Le Bozec know how to build the tension: though Fauré’s rippling piano-writing can lapse into soothing sameness (no wonder the composer chose so much verse with references to the sea), Le Bozec finds exceptional expressive significance in the most fluid key-changes. Like Maurane at his best, Mauillon knows how to maintain a sense of intimacy with the listener. External heat is not applied; Mauillon assumes the words have their own power and need less help from him.

After all, the thoughtful programme is poet-based. The songs are roughly in chronological order, highlighting Fauré’s growing response to the poets of his choosing, starting with the breezy, uncomplicated ‘Le papillon et la fleur’, written when the composer was a teenager, and progressing on to a distinctive, Zen-like abstraction. Avoiding the famous song-cycles (which contain Fauré’s most original music), Mauillon fills out the disc with unusual items such as the posthumous ‘Sérénade du Bourgeois gentilhomme’ from an unperformed incidental score to the Molière play. Fauré is still Fauré here, aside from a climactic vocalisation almost worthy of Offenbach. The more widely heard Paul Verlaine-based songs ‘Mandoline’ and ‘En sourdine’ are as charming and intelligent as any on disc. Ending the album with the ‘Chanson’, Op 94 – low-key even by Fauré’s standards – is the one mis-step here, and not a big one.

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