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Track(s) taken from CDA68016

L'archet, L22

First line:
Elle avait de beaux cheveux, blonds
?1882; dedicated to Henry Kunkelmann
author of text

Jennifer France (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: February 2013
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: October 2014
Total duration: 3 minutes 25 seconds

Cover artwork: An Evening in Ancient Times (1908) by Alphonse Osbert (1857-1939)
Musée de la Ville de Paris, Musée du Petit-Palais, France / Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Jennifer France sounds both charming and convinced, and her slightly soubrettish but always attractive sound (unfazed by the occasional stratospheric top note that Debussy evidently threw in, further to entice Mme Vasnier) adds a proper note of youthful abandon, just what these early settings need to bring them to life. Praise is also due to Malcolm Martineau for his total empathy with the always atmospheric but by no means easy accompaniments. The recorded sound is ideal ... Baritone Jonathan McGovern too is well cast, velvety in sound, easy on the ear' (International Record Review)» More
The 150th anniversary of Debussy’s birth in 2012 was marked by a number of concerts, conferences and publications. Among these last were four hitherto unpublished songs edited by Denis Herlin who, on the basis of the handwriting and form of signature on the manuscripts, dates them probably to 1882. Debussy dedicated them to his friend Henry Kunkelmann, whom he probably met in César Franck’s Conservatoire organ class. Although none of them is dedicated to Mme Vasnier, it’s hard not to suppose he was thinking of her in L’archet at the lines ‘Elle avait une voix étrange, Musicale, de fée ou d’ange’, given that one of his dedicatory notes elsewhere refers to her ‘bouche de fée mélodieuse’. Harmonically, the most interesting moment comes on the line ‘Fais un archet avec mes tresses’, where we find the Debussy of the future.

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2014

Le cent cinquantième anniversaire de la naissance de Debussy en 2012 fut marqué par des concerts, des conférences et des publications. Parurent notamment quatre mélodies inédites préparées par Denis Herlin qui, d’après l’écriture et la forme de la signature du manuscrit, estime qu’elles datent certainement de 1882. Debussy les dédia à son ami Henry Kunkelmann, probablement rencontré dans la classe d’orgue de César Franck, au Conservatoire. Aucune de ces pièces n’est dédiée à Mme Vasnier, mais il est difficile de ne pas supposer qu’il pensa à elle dans L’archet, aux vers «Elle avait une voix étrange, Musicale, de fée ou d’ange», vu qu’ailleurs, dans une note dédicatoire, il évoque sa «bouche de fée mélodieuse». Harmoniquement, le moment le plus intéressant survient à «Fais un archet avec mes tresses», où point le futur Debussy.

extrait des notes rédigées par Roger Nichols © 2014

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