The idea of a complete edition of Fauré's songs, especially from the label that has so well served both Schubert and Schumann Lieder is exciting. However this first volume disappointed me. It seemed cold and uninspiring - both on the part of accompanist and singers. Only the two baritones seemed to get anywhere near the special intimate lyricism of Fauré. Stephen Varcoe's interpretation of 'L'horizon chimérique' began to suggest a warmth of voice absent in most of the other singers, especially the women, whose voices seemed cold and often shrill.
The booklet treats us to the generous erudition we have come to expect from Graham Johnson; I felt I could have done with less of this and more imagination and sensitivity in the interpretation. The French is impeccable throughout and so is the musicianship. Is this a problem with much modern, especially English, singing - too much impeccability and too little inspiration?