Chant D'Amour; Breathless bel canto
Tom Williams | Redondo Beach, Ca. | 08/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe a Bartoli fan, such as I, shouldn't be allowed to comment on this CD....it is so obviously a showcase for Cecilia's many strengths as a vocal interpreter. While pacing could benefit from input from a more contemporary producer, Bartoli manages, in her customary, seemingly effortless way, to elicit every possible shade and nuance from some very beautiful, if sometimes somewhat esoteric (Chants hebraiques) material. It is, I believe, without question, a fact that Pauline Viardot-Garcia's touching "L'havanaise" today belongs only to Bartoli. "Ouvre to coeur" is a plea no man can resist; Bizet's oft-malperformed "Tarantelle" seems finally cohesive in her playful rendition. A difficult piece, to be sure, but one would never know this listening to Bartoli's confident treatment. While there are several stand-out pieces on this disc, Ravel's "Chanson francaise" sums up this album's style nicely....Bel Canto; Beautiful Song."
Delightful program, lovely sound, unorthodox technique
Barbara Miller | Bellevue, WA United States | 05/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This recording is well worth hearing. Bartoli has chosen some beautiful songs, many of which are not often heard, and given careful thought to presenting them with character. Particularly fun are songs like "La Coccinelle" and "Chanson hebraique" where she creates highly distinctive sounds in her own voice for multiple characters. I have just one reservation about her technique. She can produce a warm, resonant sound, but she can also slip into breathiness. Sung into a microphone this sound can be pretty and expressive, and it works if you think of it in the context of pop music. The sound is never ugly to my ears, but listeners who admire a consistent classical technique may be put off. Some of this repertoire has been recorded by Victoria de los Angeles, Conchita Supervia, and Felicity Lott (among others), and I can recommend those performances to classical purists. But, where else are you going to hear the Pauline Viardot songs that are on this CD?"
Nice New Direction
Anne L. Duke | Las Vegas, NV USA | 08/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album for me represents a comeback after her dissapointing collection of Italian songs with James Levine. I had high expectations for that outing, her supposed core repertoire, but here she seems to buckle down and dot i's and cross t's in this effort. The recital starts with the simple and slight Bizet and Delibes and the even airier Viardot before jelling in the Berlioz and Ravel. Here she surprised me -- this is a bit out of her line. By playing it straight I think she will surprise detractors and others (like me) on the fence.As for the breathiness, it is toned down from earlier recitals, believe me. A very enjoyable and well-programmed recital which I give a fourth star strictly for the Viardot -- where else are we to hear these striking if not classic songs?"