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Berlioz/ Ravel: Veronique Gens (Herminie/ Nuits/ Sheherazade) (Ondine: ODE 1200-2)

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Berlioz/ Ravel: Veronique Gens (Herminie/ Nuits/ Sheherazade) (Ondine: ODE 1200-2) + Véronique Gens ~ Berlioz (Les nuits d'été . La mort de Cléopâtre . Zaïde . La captive . La belle voyageuse)
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Herminie: Moderato - Recitative: Quel trouble te poursuit, malheureuse - 3:56£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Herminie: Aria: Adagio non troppo, "Ah! Si de la tendresse ou mon coeur - Recitative: Que dis-je? ou s'egarent mes voeux? - 5:06£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Herminie: Aria: Allegro assai agitato, "Arrete! Cher Tancrede" - Recitative: Que Clorinde est heureuse - 5:10£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Herminie: Aria: Allegro impetuoso vivace, "Venez, venez, terribles armes!" - Priere: Largo, "Dieu des chretiens, toi que j'ignore - Tempo I 8:00£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Les nuits d'ete, Op. 7: No. 1. Villanelle 2:13£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Les nuits d'ete, Op. 7: No. 2. Le Spectre de la rose 6:30£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Les nuits d'ete, Op. 7: No. 3. Sur les lagunes 5:58£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Les nuits d'ete, Op. 7: No. 4. Absence 4:35£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Les nuits d'ete, Op. 7: No. 5. Au cimetiere 4:44£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Les nuits d'ete, Op. 7: No. 6. L'Ile inconnue 3:58£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Sheherazade: No. 1. Asie 9:20Album Only
Listen12. Sheherazade: No. 2. La flute enchantee 2:54£0.59  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Sheherazade: No. 3. L'indifferent 3:24£0.59  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

"...a masterpiece heard anew, one might say, in that Véronique Gens has recorded, indeed possibly renewed Les nuits d été for a present generation."

Christopher Cook, International Record Review

CD of the Week --CD Review, BBC Radio 3

Ondine is delighted to announce a new release from star soprano Véronique Gens, who performs Herminie and Les Nuits d été by Hector Berlioz and Shéhérazade by Maurice Ravel with the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire under the baton of their music director John Axelrod.

Véronique Gens is recognised internationally as one of the great sopranos working today. She has forged her career in the baroque repertory and the music of Mozart, but French repertoire, especially Berlioz and Ravel, are "as natural to her as the air that she breathes". Her French remains a model of immaculate diction, both fluid and luminous.

Véronique Gens has a very special relationship to Berlioz's Les Nuits d été and Herminie, and here combines them on this disc with Shéhérazade by Ravel, which conjures up a totally different world.

The charismatic conductor John Axelrod was appointed music director of the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire in 2009, and follows the philosophy of being open to the world with his extraordinarily diverse repertoire choices and innovative programming. He is sought after across the world both for concerts and opera.


"Gens, a soprano who, like Crespin, couples it [Les Nuits d'été with Ravel's ravishing cycle, is much more alive and vivid, giving a passionate account of the wonderful Sur les Lagunes." --David Cairns, The Sunday Times

"No one today delivers French song with the combination of tonal beauty and verbal nuance she does, and each number of Nuits d'Eté offers a miniature masterclass, whether it's in the joyous buoyancy that she brings to the opening Villanelle, the sensuousness wrapped around the phrases of Sur les Lagunes or the hint of mysterious smokiness that invades her tone for Au Cimetière… John Axelrod provides wonderfully supple, attentive support. His players are equally impressive, whether conjuring up the hazy, suggestive backdrops to the gorgeous velvety sheen of Gens's voice in Ravel's Klingsor settings, or the more classically correct accompaniment to Herminie… Pure ravishment." --Andrew Clements, The Guardian

"....the lyrical French soprano par excellence." Richard Fairman, Gramophone

"The works on this disc suit her to perfection. She not only pronounces the words, she feels them, caresses them or, when required declaims them with unanswerable authority." --Roger Nichols, BBC Music Magazine

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
French delights contain something for everyone! 18 July 2012
By Daniel R. Coombs - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Berlioz' lovely little cantata "Herminie" opens with the familiar strains of the idee fixe from the "Symphonie Fantastique". This charming work is based on an episode from the 'Liberation of Jerusalem' by Tasso, set to words by Pierre-Ange Vielliard. The collection of three scenes/airs is certainly not one of Berlioz' best known works but is all together pleasant and contains elements of the composer's more mature works. Berlioz admits that the vision of the arias and their orchestration was altered a bit to sound more "prayer" like. This somewhat obscure work is a wonderful attention getter to this quite enjoyable new collection of French scenic works for soprano and orchestra. Berlioz' "Nuits d'ete (Summer Nights)" is more familiar to most and this rendition is lovely. The texts themselves are ponderous, and deal with lost love; penned by a contemporary of Berlioz', Theophile Gautier. The songs discuss the idylls of spring, but then ruminate on a beloved's leaving, her death, her entombment and - in another mood shift that presages the "Symphonie Fantastique" - the closing aria discusses the possibility that all such things are simply a dream; a sense of apprehension that comes to rest on a "faithful shore." Soprano Veronique Gens, who is a product of the Paris Conservatory, sings these Berlioz works with true emotion, a depth of sensitivity and a beautifully nuanced tone that is ideal to these types of art songs. Her collection closes with the atmospheric setting of "Scheherazade" by Ravel. This is, first of all, clearly Ravel; not Rimsky-Korsakov and Ravels' setting of three poems on the well known tale by Leon Leclere. Ravel's harmonic language sounds most akin to the familiar world of "Daphnis" - let's say - in the central "The Enchanted Flute". These songs do not directly tell the story of the Arabian nights per se but, rather, uses the poetry to evoke the imagery of these exotic places and times. Most importantly, this is another beautiful score sung beautifully. This is a wonderful CD and Veronique Gens has the perfect voice for these gems. Conductor John Axelrod and the National Orchestra of the Loire offers warm, sensitive accompaniment.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
French does French 3 Jun. 2014
By Lohengrin - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I first heard Berlioz "Les Nuits" on the 10 CD set "The Essential Leontyne Price." I really enjoyed her gorgeous tonal quality in song # 4 "Absence" in particular.

I had thought to try a different, perhaps more authentic approach, and the Gen's CD included "Hermine" and Ravel's "Sheherazade" both of which I was unfamiliar with.

The comparision in "Les Nuits" between Price and Gens is fascinating. In song #1 "Villanelle" Gen's offers a more lithe, athletic performance than Price. However, in the remaining songs, I prefer Price. Her opening line in #4 "Reviens, reviens" glows with real, real float. Still arresting.

Though I never thought of Reiner as a conductor of French music, sometimes, he seems more on the mark, as in #5, "Au Cimentiere." Reiner's tempo is much slower than Axelrod, and emphasizes the accompanying quarter notes so that the song has a stuttering, dreamy quality completely missing in the faster Axelrod version. However, Axelrod does provide nuanced and responsive accompaniment to his attractive sounding soprano.

In the end, I believe it's a comparison between a beautiful French soprano (Gens) and an exceptional voice (Price).

I enjoyed the other two cycles and hope to explore them likewise further!
2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Gens ignores the score 6 Jun. 2013
By Allen C. Larson - Published on
Format: Audio CD
In listening to Gens' performance of Berlioz "Les Nuits d'ete" I find numerous times when she disregards the score in favor of her own interpretation of what the composer so carefully wrote.
Would recommend a different version of this wonderful music of Berlioz to get a true sense of the vocal part. Her voice sounds good, but her understanding of the music leaves a bit to be desired. The orchestra on this recording is quite good, especially since the conductor had to keep up with the vocalists vagaries.
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