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Mots D'Amour: Songs By Cecile Chaminade
Anne Sofie von Otter, Cecile Chaminade, Bengt Forsberg
Mots D'Amour: Songs By Cecile Chaminade
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (31) - Disc #1

Just take it as read that Anne Sofie von Otter is in her usual captivating form. Her legions of fans needn't think twice before acquiring this fascinating new album. What, though, of the music itself? Pianist and composer ...  more »


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All Artists: Anne Sofie von Otter, Cecile Chaminade, Bengt Forsberg
Title: Mots D'Amour: Songs By Cecile Chaminade
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: 2/12/2002
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, Pop, Classical
Styles: Marches, Vocal Pop, Opera & Classical Vocal, Chamber Music, Forms & Genres, Rondos
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 028947133124

Just take it as read that Anne Sofie von Otter is in her usual captivating form. Her legions of fans needn't think twice before acquiring this fascinating new album. What, though, of the music itself? Pianist and composer Cécile Chaminade, born in Paris in 1857, is known to aficionados as a composer of piano miniatures, a fact reflected in what has crept into the recording catalogue over the years. Here, though, are the fruits of pianist Bengt Forsberg's enthusiasm for the songs. And irresistible they are, too. How on earth have such imaginative, charming, elegant, and beautifully crafted melodies (all on the subject of amour) escaped widespread acknowledgement for so long? There's a wide range of moods, from the bubbling "Malgré Nous" and the whimsical "L'Amour captif" to the passionate "Te souviens-tu?" and the reflective, bittersweet "Ma première lettre." As you might expect from a pianist-composer, the accompaniments are delightful, a fact relished to the full by Forsberg. Von Otter identifies with every phrase (barring the odd rather unseemly scoop) and emotion. Various short pieces for violin and piano, and two pianos, provide an engagingly performed bonus. --Andrew Green

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CD Reviews

Musical Archaeology of a Very High Order
G. Pillson | Tilling on Rye | 05/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is hardly news to say that Anne Sophie von Otter is quite, quite amazing; she has, in her way, reached the point that a celebrated stage actress might, at which we would say that she could recite the telephone book and we would listen gratefully.Fortunately for us she is instead singing the lovely songs of the undeservedly obscure Cecile Chaminade, whose exquisite and entirely retrograde songs are given their due and more in these sensitive and heartfelt performances. Several cheers at least should be given for the worthy contributions of pianists Bengt Forsberg and Peter Jablonski (the former on both song accompaniments and the instrumental tracks that end the album) as well for Nils-Erik Sparf on violin.This collection is just the thing for anyone fond of intelligent singing, sentimental poetry, or music that aims to warm a tired heart. It is most of all for anyone who knows, with Mlle. Chaminade, that one might someday forget one's first love letter, but never the feeling that inspired it..."
DAVID BRYSON | Glossop Derbyshire England | 05/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As it happens, I have been moderately familiar with the music of Cecile Chaminade for a number of years, so perhaps I can give anyone curious but uncertain what to expect some idea of what he or she will find on this disc. Chaminade seems to have been totally celibate her entire life. She eventually abandoned music for exhausting work as a hospital administrator in the first world war. Debilitation due to this cause and, according to the sleeve note, to an excessively vegetarian diet led to her losing a foot through amputation, but she lived on until age 87, dying in 1944. Her musical style is in many obvious senses conservative. The harmonic advances of Debussy and Ravel, and even of Faure, find no echo in her work. The style is very French, and there may be some influence of Saint-Saens, but for me there are odd reminiscences of Berlioz, himself a lot more innocent in many ways than he liked to let on.

The 25 love songs here are, with only one exception unless my ears deceive me, in major keys. The only poet whose name is familiar to me is Ronsard, and the sentiments are chaste and asexual from start to finish. Despite that they manage to sound very Parisian and ooh-la-la. They are not pale and maidenly but full of high spirits and energy. There are no dark shadows even in the minor-key number, and not a hint of the worldly-wisdom of Jane Austen. The piano parts are boldly written and occasionally quite demanding, and there is also a violin obbligato in the Minuet. In addition we are given three violin/piano duos (one arranged by Kreisler) and three slightly larger works for two pianos, in which it would be possible to hear the idiom of Saint-Saens but not for certain.

Anne Sofie von Otter's expression in the photographs will tell you at a glance how she intends to go about the songs. Her voice is nothing like Piaf's of course, and the songs would not bring the house down at the Paris Olympia, but she gets as near to that style as artistic integrity allows. Her French sounds very good indeed to me, and she gives Chaminade everything she has got, all vivacity, extroversion and joie-de-vivre. Chaminade seems to have nothing to regret either.

The other artists distinguish themselves thoroughly. The feel of enjoyment about this recital comes through as strongly from Bengt Forsberg's vigorous and dexterous piano-playing as from the singer herself. The violin parts are done very well, joining in the general mood, and there is a fine sturdy contribution on the second piano from Peter Jablonski. Everything about this disc delighted me from start to finish. The recorded sound is just about ideal for the purpose, and even the liner note is very good. Full texts of the songs are of course provided, with English translation and German Uebersetzung. One of the songs proclaims `Je voudrais etre une fleur'. It's a bit late now, but I sometimes wonder whether innocence doesn't have more to be said for it than we are vectored into believing in these enlightened days."
Patricia A. Powell | gladstone, nj USA | 12/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This delightful CD of music by Cecile Chaminade, was the inspiration of Bengt Forsberg. He spent decades searching for and "collecting her music in second-hand music shops." While collaborating with Anne Sofie von Otter on another program, Forsberg showed her these neglected songs. The result was this wonderful CD. Probably you should listen to this CD for the Chaminade melodies. (25 of the 140 songs are presented here). But, Forsberg has also recorded the pieces for violin & piano and pieces for two pianos with Spaft, and Jablonski. The inclusion of these pieces, gives us a more complete idea of Chaminade's range of composition. The artistry of von Otter, is captivating, and Forsberg clearly has an affinity for Chaminade's romantic French music.It is easy to record and sell the tried and true, but Anne Sofie von Otter and Bengt Forsberg (and DG) have done something risky in recording Chaminade's music. She is not Mozart. At the time of this writing this recording ranked 38,201 on's sale ranking system. And so, perhaps it will not payoff for the artists and the company involved. Perhaps this CD will not be available for long. Perhaps. But IT IS available NOW, and so I encourage anyone who reads this to find a way to hear this delightful music in these nearly perfect performances. I highly recommend it."