This two CD issue from Naxos of singing by Maggie Teyte (1888-1976) is a treat for two different audiences. For those of us who have long known and loved her voice, it is 2 1/2 hours of mostly French mélodies and arias sung as only she could sing them, in a pristine restoration by that wizard, Ward Marston. For those who don't know her singing, it is a fabulous introduction at budget price to a singer who put the stamp of her unmistakable personality on everything she sang with great musicality, intelligence, impeccable diction, and purity of tone throughout her range.
Included are fifteen mélodies by Debussy (Fetes galantes I & II, Trois Chansons de Bilitis, Le Promenoir de deux amants, et al.) accompanied by the inimitable Alfred Cortot. Almost all the other piano-accompanied songs are with Gerald Moore, that paragon who accompanied every important artist of his era. Also included are Ravel's Schéhérazade, some of the best known Fauré songs (Aprés un reve, Nell, Clair de lune), the delectable Psyché of Paladilhe, and three by Reynaldo Hahn (Offrande, L'Heure exquise, and Si mes vers avaient des ailes). There are assorted other songs by Purcell, Martini, Pergolesi, a couple of selections from Berlioz's Nuit d'été (Absence, and Spectre de la rose), Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Chausson, Duparc (Phydilé, L'Ivitation au voyage), Offenbach (Tu n'es pas beau), Messager. It ends with several songs in English by Elgar (Pleading), Quilter (the exquisite Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal), Thomas's Night Hymn at Sea (with John McCormack, and never before released), a song from a Kennedy Russell operetta, and Romberg's Deep in My Heart, Dear.
The last songs were recorded when she was over sixty and one cannot hear any erosion of the voice at all. It had maintained its fragile lyric beauty after more than forty years of performing.
Some of these performances are available on other labels (e.g. Pearl) but at much higher price. You simply cannot go wrong here. One again Naxos has given us an issue of major historical interest. Long may they continue this effort!