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Track(s) taken from CDA67357

Mandoline, L43

First line:
Les donneurs de sérénades
composer
author of text

Christopher Maltman (baritone), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Recording details: July 2001
Champs Hill, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: January 2003
Total duration: 1 minutes 27 seconds
 
1

Reviews

'an admirable recital' (BBC Music Magazine)

'You could not wish for more than Maltman’s intelligent singing and Martineau’s customary sensitivity to every nuance' (Classic FM Magazine)

'The partnership of baritone Christopher Maltman and pianist Malcom Martineau has proved chemically sound in so many memorable live and recorded performances. This new release of Debussy songs for Hyperion is no exception' (The Scotsman)

'On the present disc, Maltman distinguishes himself beyond expectation in the realm of French Mélodie, singing throughout with elegance, conviction, communicativeness, specific attention to the text, and unblemished technical security, all utterly without mannerism, in a varied program spanning 30 years (1880 -1910) of Debussy song … You should go out and buy it right now' (Fanfare, USA)

'this young baritone invests all he touches with equal consideration and the 21 songs in his programme emerge fresh and compelling … a recording of strong focus' (Yorkshire Post)

'Christopher Maltman has already distinguished himself as a lieder singer, but now he reveals himself as a stunningly apt exponent of French mélodies' (Opera News)

'With a singer of Christopher Maltman's quality these songs are presented here about as beautifully as they could be' (Manchester Evening News)

' … the young baritone brings magnificent sturdiness to the music and he is sensitively accompanied by an understanding Martineau. The recording is excellent … we have another Hyperion winner' (Classical.net)
Increasingly from the mid-1880s Debussy turned from the elegant Théodore de Banville and from purveyors of sentimentality like Girod and Bourget to poets whose attachments to the Symbolist movement gave him more scope for profundity. In 1882 he made his first two settings of Verlaine, who was to become the poet of some of his greatest songs. Mandoline is the second of these two, and already at the age of twenty Debussy is seen to be responding to the quality of Verlaine’s writing. The ‘piano-as-mandolin’ was no new concept in French song, but Debussy introduces a new realism both in the opening call to attention, from which a myriad of possible continuations suggest themselves, and in the open fifths that do in fact follow. Now the opening vocal line does not recur until the final verse, allowing Debussy to make a pseudo-rhyme out of ‘chanteuses’ and ‘brises’, both set to a wonderfully floating, chromatic phrase. Purists may disapprove of the final ‘la-la’s, not in Verlaine’s original, but surely what Debussy makes of them disarms criticism? This is the earliest of his characteristic fade-out endings, culminating in a repeat of the opening call to attention, played correctly in this recording, though too rarely elsewhere, with the soft pedal; a wonderful touch, asking ‘Is that it?’. Here for the first time Debussy gave some intimation of what his piano parts would soon become.

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2003

À partir du milieu des années 1880, Debussy se détourna de plus en plus de l’élégant Théodore de Banville et des fournisseurs de sentimentalités comme Girod et Bourget pour des poètes dont les attachements au mouvement symboliste lui ouvrirent de nouveaux horizons pour exprimer des sentiments plus profonds. En 1882, il écrivit ses deux premières réalisations musicales de poèmes de Verlaine qui allait devenir le poète de quelques-unes de ses meilleures mélodies. Mandoline est la seconde des deux, et dès ses vingt ans, Debussy semble répondre à la qualité d’écriture de Verlaine. Parmi la mélodie française, traiter le «piano comme mandoline» n’était certes pas un concept nouveau, mais Debussy y apporta un réalisme novateur tant dans l’appel initial à l’attention à partir duquel émerge une myriade de continuations possibles que dans les quintes à vide qui s’ensuivent. La ligne vocale initiale ne réapparaît pas avant la strophe finale, permettant à Debussy de réaliser un semblant de rime entre «chanteuses» et «brises», en une phrase musicale merveilleusement flottante et chromatique. Les puristes désapprouveront peut-être les derniers «la la» qui ne figurent pas dans l’original verlainien, mais par sa réalisation, Debussy ne désarme-t-il la critique? Voici la première de ses conclusions idiosyncrasiques qui s’éteignent progressivement; l’intensité culmine dans la reprise de l’appel initial à l’attention, correctement exécuté dans cet enregistrement mais que trop rarement ailleurs, avec la pédale douce: une touche merveilleuse, interrogeant «est-ce donc cela?». Pour la première fois, Debussy laisse préfigurer la manière dont ses parties de piano allaient bientôt sonner.

extrait des notes rédigées par Roger Nichols © 2003
Français: Isabelle Battioni

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