Véronique Gens: Néère

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Reynaldo Hahn, (Marie Eugène) Henri Duparc, (Amedée-)Ernest Chausson

Genre:

Vocal

Label: Alpha

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: ALPHA215

ALPHA215. Véronique Gens: Néère

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Quand je fus pris au pavillon Reynaldo Hahn Composer
Susan Manoff
Véronique Gens
Romance de Mignon Susan Manoff
Véronique Gens
(Marie Eugène) Henri Duparc Composer
(Le) Rossignol des lilas Susan Manoff
Véronique Gens
Reynaldo Hahn Composer
(L')Invitation au voyage (Marie Eugène) Henri Duparc Composer
Susan Manoff
Véronique Gens
(Le) Printemps Susan Manoff
Reynaldo Hahn Composer
Véronique Gens
A Chloris Susan Manoff
Reynaldo Hahn Composer
Véronique Gens
Phidylé Véronique Gens
Susan Manoff
(Marie Eugène) Henri Duparc Composer
(7) Mélodies Susan Manoff
(Amedée-)Ernest Chausson Composer
Véronique Gens
Néère Reynaldo Hahn Composer
Véronique Gens
Susan Manoff
Études latines Véronique Gens
Susan Manoff
Reynaldo Hahn Composer
Au pays où se fait la guerre Véronique Gens
Susan Manoff
(Marie Eugène) Henri Duparc Composer
La Chanson bien douce (Amedée-)Ernest Chausson Composer
Susan Manoff
Véronique Gens
(Le) Temps des lilas (Amedée-)Ernest Chausson Composer
Susan Manoff
Véronique Gens
Tyndaris Susan Manoff
Véronique Gens
Reynaldo Hahn Composer
Trois jours de vendage Véronique Gens
Susan Manoff
Reynaldo Hahn Composer
Lydé Véronique Gens
Reynaldo Hahn Composer
Susan Manoff
Études latines Susan Manoff
Véronique Gens
Reynaldo Hahn Composer
Chanson triste Véronique Gens
(Marie Eugène) Henri Duparc Composer
Susan Manoff
Véronique Gens’s new album is an important issue on several fronts. First and foremost,
it is arguably the most perfectly realised recital of French songs since Stéphane Degout’s very different ‘Mélodies’ (Naïve, 4/11). Second, it is quite remarkable and insightful in its programming. At its centre is Chausson’s Op 2 set, dating from 1881, much excerpted (‘Le colibri’ is very famous), but recorded here complete for the first time since Graham Johnson’s survey of the composer’s songs (Hyperion, 5/01). Around it are grouped works by Duparc and Hahn, the latter represented not only by such familiar items as ‘A Chloris’ but by songs from his Etudes Latines, a mixed solo-choral collection setting texts by Leconte de Lisle, published in 1900. They are quite wonderfully original – their sinewy melodies and pulsing accompaniments are closer in style to Satie’s Gnossiennes than anything else in Hahn’s output – and the disc as a whole makes a superb case for considering his songs, sometimes thought dilettantish, as being on a level with those of his elder contemporaries.

Gens, as one might expect, is exceptional in this repertoire. Most of the songs are about erotic anticipation and tristesse, and her dark, slightly smoky tone adds to the sensuality of it all. She sings as much off the text as the line, but nothing is nudged or forced in an overtly interventionist way. Neither she nor her pianist Susan Manoff seemingly believe that French song is necessarily about restraint and delicacy, and both are prepared to use bold colours and effects when the situation demands. ‘Au pays où se fait la guerre’ delivers near-Gothic frissons as a lurch of vocal anxiety and a piano shudder accompany the sound of strange footfalls on the tower stairs, and the arpeggios with which Manoff surrounds the image of the fields coloured ‘d’hyacinthe et d’or’ in ‘L’invitation au voyage’ glitter and sparkle like the contents of some sumptuous, decadent jewel box. Elsewhere, poise is all. Gens’s ‘A Chloris’ is one of the best there is, and Hahn’s ‘Néère’, which gives the disc its title, leaves you open-mouthed with its beauty.

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