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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding disc, 22 Mar 2010
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Mondoro (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Turbulent Heart: Music of Vierne & Chausson (Audio CD)
Those familiar with Vierne's more abstract compositions such as the organ symphonies will be surprised to encounter these settings of French Romantic poems, written for tenor and orchestra. Their mood varies from dramatic (Ballade, Op 61) to the voluptuous (Psyche, Op 33 - the best of these settings), but make a cooler, more detached contrast to Chausson that completes the disc.

And the better-known Chausson will be the prime attraction. Yes: it must be admitted that the shadow of Wagner at times falls heavily, but it is relieved by the many layers of French polish that Chausson has applied to his music, which is beautifully scored and paints the words of the text so effectively.

This is claimed to be the first recording featuring the tenor voice for which it was orginally written, rather than the more usual soprano/mezzo voice. Bouchor's poetry indicates a male narrator, so perhaps this is appropriate textually. Musically, I have few doubts. Steve Davislim, an Australian tenor rapidly establishing an international reputation, gives a perfomance of great refinement, and where it is required, passion and intensity.

Taking the second poem (Track 6: 'La mort de l'amour') as an example, his radiant tone conveys the anticipatory joy of the lover returning to the island to resume the summer idyll with his beloved. But in the brief interlude before the next verse, the mood of the music suddenly darkens, with a shift to the minor key, and the lover encounters a sudden rejection signifying the death of love: Davislim captures this moment with hollow, lifeless, tones. But the finest moment of all comes later, when the lover sadly recalls 'the time of lilies and the time of roses', accompanied by a solo cello. This is singing of great distinction.

A superlative disc, worth getting for the Chausson alone, and then moving on to Vierne's different sound world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it before it's out of print, 23 Nov 2012
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Charles Voogd (Underwaterland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Turbulent Heart: Music of Vierne & Chausson (Audio CD)
This CD is entitled `Turbulent Heart' and I think that's because of all the lost loves the tenor sings about in these works. With this fabulous SACD you get 80 minutes of grief, saying goodbye and tears, but it so unbelievable well done you'll forget that soon. If you're not a native French speaker like me you can let the music overflow yourself and let yourself go in this enormously entertaining program. I only knew of Vierne because way back I bought a CD with his symphony on it, which is a very good Franckian affair with Wagnerian/Lisztian touches, alas a very mediocre glassy recording (Timpani records). On this SACD you'll get a mix of symphonic poems with orchestral songs and they're very much worth your money. The 2 reviewers before me are absolutely right.
Chausson's poem has been done before by Jessye Norman on an old (1980s) Erato records CD (it's now on Apex, grab it, it's great) and in those days this struck as very very beautiful, sometimes too beautiful, sung. I never knew it could be sung by a tenor too until a Decca recording popped up with Francois le Roux and Charles Dutoit on the helm of the Montreal SO. It was awful, how bad and wobbly can a man sing? And now, if you've never heard of the tenor Steve Davislim (not a shame, you can't know them all) you're in for a treat: he's great and gets every note right and has the stamina to go through these songs with ease. He's a very promising singer. The orchestra backs him with a very great performance in very good sound. Horns glow, percussion is very well positioned, strings sound like strings. An Australian orchestra with a French sound, how's that! Marvelous! The recording is first class. Two minor quibbles: 1. if you listen to this program with headphones on, you'll hear some strange unmusical sounds as if something spits in your right ear, especially at the beginning of the first song. It dies out for a while and is back at other points. Mixing failure? 2. The solo cello in the Chausson is, for my taste, too much mixed forward, it's unnatural on the edge of `not done'.
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Turbulent Heart: Music of Vierne & Chausson
Turbulent Heart: Music of Vierne & Chausson by Guillaume Tourniaire (Audio CD - 2009)
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