M. J. Gray | New Zealand | 08/10/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Faure's songs are exquisite. Unfortunately, this album does not show them in the best light. Three of the five singers - Felicity Lott, Stephen Varcoe and Jennifer Smith - are closer to sixty than fifty, and they sound it. Geraldine McGreevy and Jean-Paul Fouchecourt provide a mere nine (out of 28) tracks of compensation, but nearly 24 minutes of Jennifer Smith wavering through La chanson d'Eve is almost too much.
Buy this if you have the other three, just to complete the set."
Beautiful songs, sensitive accompaniment - inadequate voices
Ralph Moore | Bishop's Stortford, UK | 01/25/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The previous reviewer is spot on. I rarely go out of my way to excoriate a disc, but I have to warn fellow admirers of Fauré's art-songs that this Hyperion volume is fatally compromised by the quality of singing. Worst offender is Jennifer Smith, whose grainy, worn, wobbly, elderly-sounding soprano does Fauré's delicate melodies no favours at all. I hate to speak negatively of any singer, as anyone who stands up and performs for our pleasure deserves respect, but she is simply wholly unsuitable for this repertoire. The others are better - indeed, I make an honourable exception of Geraldine McGreevy's attractive soprano in her half dozen songs - but the tenor is a tweety, white-voiced tenorino, Stephen Varcoe does his usual schtick as a tenor singing baritone - how has he made a career singing in the wrong tessitura? - and Dame Felicity Lott once more demonstrates that, unlike Janet Baker, she sang beyond the point at which her voice retained much intrinsic beauty.
Oh dear, no; run - no, rush - to acquaint yourself with singers who can do Fauré justice: Janet Baker, Barbara Hendricks, Gérard Souzay, Elly Ameling (both on a 4 disc super-bargain ""Brilliant" set) - anybody; just leave this disc alone."