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“Songs with Orchestra”
Jules Massenet: Pensée de printemps [1] ^ – Le Poète et le Fantôme [2] – Hymne d’amour [3] ^ – Amoureuse [4] ^ – Si tu veux, Mignonne  [5] ^ – Chant provençal [6] ^ – Rêverie de Colombine (from Le Roman d’Arlequin) (instr.) – Souvenez-vous, Vierge Marie ! – Prière de Saint Bernard [2] ^ – Les Enfants [5] ^ – Pensée d’automne [1] ^ – Baiser-Impromptu [6] ^ – Je t’aime [4] ^ – A Colombine [3] ^– Scène religieuse (from Les Erinnyes) (instr.) – Sœur d’élection [2] ^ – Crépuscule, Musette [5] & Aurore [6] (from Poème pastoral) ^ – Marquise [6] ^ – Pitchounette [1] ^ – L’improvisatore - Rimembranza di Trastevere [4] ^ – Les Fleurs [3, 4] ^ – Menuet d’amour (from Thérèse) (instr.) – On dit ! [5] ^ – La Chanson de Musette (from La Vie de Bohème) [1] ^

Nicole Car [4], Jodie Devos [5], Véronique Gens [2], Chantal Santon-Jeffery [6] (soprano), Cyrille Dubois [1] (tenor), Etienne Dupuis [3] (baritone), Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Hervé Niquet (conductor)
Recording: Salle des concerts, Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris (November 17‑20, 2020) (^ World Premiere Recording) – 66’40
Bru Zane BZ 2004 (Distributed by Naxos of America) – Booklet in English, French and German

Though heavily highlighted by his prolific output of more than thirty operas, including Manon, Werther and even the lesser‑fêted Don Quichotte, Jules Massenet was equally propitious when delving into incidental music, orchestral works, ballets and songs. Equally attuned to the aesthetics, Massenet continually massaged works into his music: librettos, poetry, paintings, novels, fables and composers (even, Jules Massenet, himself!!)...a vastly sensitive outreach. In a word, Jules Massenet was a master at reaching the public and touching their hearts. This is why Bru Zane’s “Songs with Orchestra” is particularly enchanting because this music personally touches the hearts of all of the French singers and the pristine outcomes by the Orchestra de chambre de Paris and conductor, Hervé Niquet.

Particularly insightful is how judicious the chosen voice is assigned to each extraction. The six artists featured all have a distinctly different compartment which energizes the words and music with the most dramatic effect: the opulent bravado of Cyrille Dubois (ref: Pitchounette with its drum patter foundations, remarking upon Le Cid and La Navarraise), the richly emboldened, exhilarating passions (ref: Souvenez-vous, Vierge Marie !) inside Véronique Gens, Etienne Dupuis’ electrifying baritone resonances (ref: Hymne d’amour), the penetrating and demonstrably lower smoky reaches of Nicole Car (ref: Amoureuse), the sparkling and effectual effervescences of Jodie Devos and the earthly-organic pastoral charms (ref: Chant provençal) by Chantal Santon-Jeffery.

One can’t forget the melodic instrumental interludes. Benoît Grenet’s sonorous cello lines inside “Rêverie de Colombine” as well as “On dit !” with pensive equations thoughtfully sung and eloquently illuminated by Véronique Gens, the lyrically soft enclaves from Les Erinnyes (“Scène religieuse”) and the politely formal advances of dance displayed inside the “Menuet d’amour” from the 1907 drame musical, Thérèse.

Operatic reminisces surface: Marquise, sung by Mlle Santon-Jeffery that turns to Manon (Act III). Sparkling pizzicati brilliantly punctuate the impy and perky foundations by M. Dubois during “La Chanson de Musette”. “Intuitively hearty, spirited and earthy with elegant detail” encapsulates the Orchestre de chambre de Paris throughout the CD. Hervé Niquet hails!

Efforts to personalize and stylize each one of Jules Massenet’s chanson is a little gem that holds a pearl: voilà!, a shiny mini‑souvenir. “Songs with Orchestra” is a blissful delight...thoughtfully demure and well‑crafted: words, notes and voice climax to the sublime...one of the loveliest creations ever imagined. Well‑worth a visit and a re‑visit.

Christie Grimstad




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