A Verlaine Songbook / Sampson, Middleton

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In his poem Art poétique, Paul Verlaine declared that poetry above all should be musical: 'De la musique avant toute chose'. This quality in his work was recognized by composers already during his lifetime, and it is sometimes claimed that Verlaine has been set to music more often than any other poet after him.+ For their Verlaine Songbook, Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton have selected songs by ten composers, including two complete cycles – Fauré's La Bonne Chanson and Debussy's Ariettes oubliées. The 33 songs on the release set a total of 25 texts – several poems by Verlaine have attracted more than one composer, and Clair de lune appears three times, in versions by Debussy, Fauré and Joseph Szulc, while La lune blanche can be heard no less than four, in versions by Fauré, Ernest Chausson, Reynaldo Hahn and Poldowski – the pseudonym of the Belgian-born British composer Régine Wieniawski. Released in 2015 to critical acclaim, Carolyn Sampson's début recital disc, Fleurs (BIS-2102), was a flower-themed anthology with songs by composers ranging from Purcell to Benjamin Britten via Schubert and Debussy. On the present release the repertoire is rather more concentrated in time – all songs were composed during a span of 35 years (c. 1880-1915) – but the variety is nevertheless striking: a reflection of how different artistic temperaments have interpreted the many-facetted Verlaine.

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REVIEW:

Sampson and Middleton concentrate on song cycles, bookending their recitals with Debussy's Fetes galantes and Ariette oubliees, and placing La bonne chanson (Faure) at its center. Paysages tristes, by the d'Indy pupil Deodat de Severac, one of the many discoveries here, forms the disc's unforgettable epilogue.

Both artists are very much at home in this repertory, frequently functioning as an indivisible unit with sound and sense beautifully fused. Sampson is in excellent voice, her tone clear and silvery, her upper registers exquisite. Middleton's playing is marvelously fresh throughout, the thin dividing line between wit and melancholy superbly negotiated.

– Gramophone (12/2016)


Product Description:


  • Catalog Number: BIS-2233


  • UPC: 7318599922331


  • Label: BIS


  • Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns, Charles Bordes, Claude Debussy, Déodat de Sévérac, Ernest Chausson, Gabriel Fauré, Josef Zygmunt Szulc, Maurice Ravel, Poldowski, Reynaldo Hahn


  • Performer: Carolyn Sampson, Joseph Middleton



Works:


  1. Fêtes galantes, Set 1

    Composer: Claude Debussy

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  2. Cythère, for voice & piano

    Composer: Poldowski

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  3. En sourdine, for voice & piano

    Composer: Poldowski

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  4. Colombine, for voice & piano

    Composer: Poldowski

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  5. L'heure exquise, for voice & piano

    Composer: Poldowski

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  6. Mandoline, for voice & piano

    Composer: Poldowski

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  7. Sur l'herbe

    Composer: Maurice Ravel

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  8. Claire de Lune, for voice & piano, Op. 83/1

    Composer: Josef Zygmunt Szulc

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  9. Le ciel est par-dessus le toit, for voice & piano

    Composer: Déodat de Sévérac

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  10. La bonne chanson, Op. 61

    Composer: Gabriel Fauré

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  11. Apaisement, for voice & piano, Op. 13/1 (from 4 Mélodies)

    Composer: Ernest Chausson

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  12. Le vent dans la plaine

    Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  13. 7 Chansons Grises: Tous deux

    Composer: Reynaldo Hahn

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  14. 7 Chansons Grises: L'heure exquise

    Composer: Reynaldo Hahn

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  15. Clair de lune, Op. 46 no 2

    Composer: Gabriel Fauré

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  16. Colloque Sentimental, for voice & piano

    Composer: Charles Bordes

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  17. Ariettes oubliées

    Composer: Claude Debussy

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson


  18. Soleils couchants (Paysages tristes) for voice & piano

    Composer: Déodat de Sévérac

    Performer: Joseph Middleton (Piano), Carolyn Sampson