Search - Jean-Baptiste Lully, Claude Debussy, Alessandro Scarlatti :: Gérard Souzay - Lieder and Mélodies

Gérard Souzay - Lieder and Mélodies
Jean-Baptiste Lully, Claude Debussy, Alessandro Scarlatti
Gérard Souzay - Lieder and Mélodies
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (26) - Disc #1


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CD Reviews

lesismore26 | Chicago, Illinois USA | 12/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"French by birth, training and career, Gerard Souzay stands head and shoulders above any singer in the field of the French art song. His creamy lyric baritone and subtle artistic identity and demeanor was essentially unsuited (and certainly underpowered) to the more overtly stated emotions that make opera so unique, so early on Souzay directed his finely tuned artistic instincts to the more intimate forum of the French art songs of Gounod, Faure, and Debussy, and to the "lieder" of Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms. In the latter he was rivaled only by the formidable Dietrich Fischer-Diskeau while in the former he was rivaled by none in the twentieth century. There are numerous Phillips and EMI recordings (most of which are currently unavailable) which ably testify to the beautiful artistry of Gerard Souzay. Here is another, and it is so special that I have found myself returning to it repeatedly since having acquired it recently. The selections here were recorded in the late 1940's, but the sound (forgiving some surface noise) is perfectly listenable, with the voice and piano accompanyment coming through vividly and cleanly. Souzay was nearing thirty and his voice was as beautiful an instrument as one could ever hope to hear anywhere. In art songs by Gounod and Faure, Souzay sings not only with unsurpassing beauty of sound, but with great imagination and extraordinary phrasing. The songs are very attractive to begin with, but Souzay makes them a truly enriching and beautiful experience. To hear this music performed so idiomatically is something one may experience once in a musical lifetime. The German and Italian selections are almost as impressive. Schubert's quiet and haunting "Nacht und Traume" finds Souzay singing as though he himself were in a dream, where his perfectly controlled soft notes seem to evaporate into the silence of night. Durante's "Vergin tutt'amor" may not have the Italian passion that a Pavarotti could have brought to it, but it has a flawless delivery and a unique beauty on its own terms. Gerard Souzay was gifted with possibly the most beautiful baritone voice of his time, and his elegance and "brush strokes" of interperetation in song literature and lieder is something to treasure and cherish. For anyone interested in knowing what truly great vocal artistry is all about, this disc is a must!"