Beautiful French lieder
email@example.com | 04/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Reynaldo Hahn's early years coincided with the sway of French impressionism, and these early experiences with introverted poetic expression affected his life for ever. Hahn's songs are by nature reflective. Many of them are set to poems by impressionist poets, such as Verlaine; some of the most sublime ones grow out of the lyrics by Victor Hugo. Some of these songs subtly reflect Hahn's personal experiences: he was gay, unreconciled with himself, and closeted till the day he died. Even some of his closest friends didn't know the source of his restlessness. A one-time lover, and a life-long friend of Marcel Proust's, Hahn learned to express himself in song, the way Proust expressed himself through the chain of forever regressing recolletions in prose. The selection of songs on these two discs presents some of the best Hahn's output, exhibiting all the hallmarks of his style: subtly undulating accompaniment, melodies full of free-flowing intimacy, imaginative cadences, and plenty of room for interpretation by individual performers. Of the wonderful vocalists here, Steven Varcoe, a beguilingly beautiful baritone voice, deserves a special mention."
A star of the 'chansom'. Buy It.
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 10/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'Songs by Reynaldo Hahn',French 'chansoms' written by a Venezualean Jew and performed by an all star English team of vocalists and accompaniest, is quite enough for me to forsake my Shubert for a few hours and immerse myself in these evocations of the world's most musical language. My discovery of Hahn in this release and the similar collection by Susan Graham shows me that the salon art song did not die in the 19th century, even if offerings from artists in English, German, and Italian are a bit thin.
From my point of view of the amateur listener, these performances are simply so pretty, as with an overripe peach, they approach, but never pass over to the banal.
Beautiful songs, expertly realized."