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Track(s) taken from CDA67728

Noël des jouets

First line:
Le troupeau verni des moutons
author of text

Gerald Finley (baritone), Julius Drake (piano)
Recording details: July 2008
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: June 2009
Total duration: 3 minutes 15 seconds

Cover artwork: The Talisman, or The Swallow-hole in the Bois d'Amour, Pont-Aven (1888) by Paul Serusier (1864-1927)
Musée d'Orsay, Paris / Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Ravel's sense of colour and atmosphere is infallible … Finley's mellifluous, malleable baritone is an ideal match for this repertoire, with lines eloquently floated, nuances subtly voiced and character sensitively defined. This is a beguiling programme, beautifully performed' (Gramophone)

'It feels inadequate just to describe this enchanting new collection from Gerald Finley and Julius Drake as the best modern recital devoted to the wonderfully varied world of Ravel's songs … Julius Drake's warm-toned playing is, as ever, a perfect foil, all captured in Hyperion's wonderful sound. Riches indeed' (BBC Music Magazine)

'These are for the most part works of cool restraint, with passion hidden beneath a jewelled surface, and Finley's wonderfully flexible voice achieves maximum effect with minimal means … Drake's playing is a marvel of delicacy and almost gamelan-like sonorities' (The Daily Telegraph)

'It's a beautiful disc that startles in ways you don't always expect … the poetic restraint of Finley's singing and Drake's playing are spellbinding. The settings of Marot and Ronsard are ravishingly done, and the mixture of irony and sadness they bring to Histoires naturelles is exceptional' (The Guardian)

'These are songs that deserve to be better known … there are wonderful settings of prose poems by Jules Renard in which the peacock parades, a swan glides across glittering water and a kingfisher perches on a fisherman's rod. Drake relishes Ravel's iridescent piano parts, shifting imperceptibly from picture-painting to psychological comment … [Don Quichotte] magnificently performed by Finley and Drake, these grand mélodies … are a compelling miniature drama in three acts … Finley matches Drake song for song, the naïve knight, the ardent lover and, in 'Chanson épique', a grave and gravelly voice for this most principled of heroes … every track on this fine CD is proof that Ravel … was a composer who rose to a given musical occasion with consummate artistry, conviction and originality' (International Record Review)

'Gerald Finley seems to have found his métier here, singing with an enlightened sense of vocal agility and also fidelity to the textual nuances of Ravel's music. This is one of the best Ravel recitals I have heard in a long time (and they don't come often) so if this composer and his songs have any meaning for you at all, grab this disc quick. Julius Drake adds his normally sensitive partnership in music that is truly written for two' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'Gerald Finley dares to tackle and all-Ravel program, and it only takes a few selections to recognize his mastery … the Key here is the Canadian's entirely natural approach, free of affectation or overinterpretation and supported by a voice of consistent beauty, warmth and flexibility … what emerges is not just a great display of vocal artistry, style, diction and characterization' (Opera News)
A playful Ravel is evident in Noël des jouets (1905), in which he made his debut as author. Each of the five verses has its topic: the sheep in the toy crib, the Virgin Mary in her crinoline (echoes of Massenet), the sinister dog Beelzebub lurking (low, Musorgskian major seconds) to eat up Jesus who is made of coloured sugar, and the final adoration.

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2009

Le Ravel enjoué se retrouve dans le Noël des jouets, écrit en 1905, où il fait ses débuts d’auteur. Chacune des cinq strophes a son sujet: les moutons dans la crèche miniature, la Vierge Marie dans sa crinoline (échos de Massenet), le sombre chien Belzébuth tapi (grave, secondes majeures moussorgskiennes) pour dévorer l’enfant Jésus qui est fait de sucre peint, et l’adoration finale.

extrait des notes rédigées par Roger Nichols © 2009
Français: Marie-Stella Pâris

Die spielerische Seite Ravels wird in Noël des jouets von 1905 deutlich, mit dem er sein schriftstellerisches Debüt machte. Jeder dieser fünf Verse hat ein bestimmtes Thema: die Schafe in der Spielzeugkrippe, die Jungfrau Maria in ihrem Reifrock (Anklänge an Massenet), der sinistre, sich herumtreibende Hund Beelzebub (tiefe, an Mussorgsky erinnernde große Sekunden), der das aus farbigem Zucker gemachte Jesuskind auffressen will und zu guter Letzt die Anbetung.

aus dem Begleittext von Roger Nichols © 2009
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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