Hector Berlioz, Marie Jaell, Nas, Stuffed Foxes, Mario Lucio

  • Hector Berlioz
    Summer Nights, Op.7. Harold in Italy, Op.16

    Michael Spyres (tenor), Timothy Ridout (alto). Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, John Nelson (conductor).
Cover of the album “Les Nuits d'été – Harold en Italie”, by Berlioz with Michael Spyres and John Nelson.

Led by John Nelson at the head of the Orchester Philharmonique de Strasbourg, the discographic project devoted to works with voices by Berlioz continues on its path paved with success. After The Trojansthe Requiem and The Damnation of Faustthese are this time The summer nights which appear on the menu of American tenor Michael Spyres, who is on familiar ground, since it is with the Alsatian phalanx (directed by Marko Letonja) that he recorded the breathtaking album Baritenor. Hailed for its slaughter and an exceptional vocal amplitude, the singer chose the 1856 version, interpreting each of the six melodies in its original key, a challenge when you know that the composer had imagined a dramaturgy mixing female and male voices. Subtlety, lyricism, passion, prosodic mastery, the American delivers a version that is both sensitive and poetic. The osmosis with John Nelson’s amorous accompaniment adorns the music with a bewildering panel of colors and expression. Coupling with Harold in Italy is an idea all the brighter as the viola part is held by the young British prodigy Thimothy Ridout. Musicality, intoxication of the game, virtuosity, the soloist effortlessly rises to the top of the discography. Marie Aude Roux

1 CD Erato/Warner Classics.

  • Marie Jaell
    What we hear in Hell, Purgatory, Paradise
    Pieces for piano after a reading of Dante. Celia Oneto Bensaid (piano).
Cover of the album “Ce qu'on hear…”, by Marie Jaëll, by Célia Oneto Bensaid.

The first release of the Présence Compositrices label concerns a musician who, like Louise Farrenc (1804-1875), had her hour of glory in the 19e century as a creator and concert performer, before falling into oblivion. However, unlike her eldest, whose importance in the history of French music is recognized today, Marie Jaëll (1846-1925) is still a matter of discovery. The one that appears here is significant, since it concerns a set of eighteen pieces, six per cycle linked to the celestial stay of the soul, whose publication in 1894 coincides with the farewell to composition outside the educational framework. After having reached the goal or reached its limits? The question arises when listening to this monumental work, which alternates creation under influence and non-conformist explorations. From the very Lisztian Hell to Paradise adorned with the freshness of a Schumann or a Grieg, the young Célia Oneto Bensaid defends the cause of Marie Jaëll magnificently, but it is in Purgatory (with superb Remorse) that the composer seems to have best found her voice, if not her place. Pierre Gervasoni

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