The title undersells this song recital. At 75 minutes, the disc lasts more than an hour and Alice Coote’s singing of French mélodies goes far beyond the merely exquisite, exploring the music’s passion and sensual underside.
The beauty of her mezzo-soprano glows with radiance in Hahn’s L’heure exquise, which gives the disc its title.
Elsewhere, as in some of her Berlioz and Debussy, the sultry tone can start to sound overripe. Coote’s far-reaching programme embraces Gounod, Saint-Saëns and popular Poulenc, and Graham Johnson is the perspicacious accompanist.