Two interesting and recommendable CDs of Debussy Mélodies.
The repertoire is mainly different, with only the Ariettes oubliées offering direct comparison. Véronique Dietschy's first CD has been a favourite in my collection since I heard her at a notable debut recital in London's French Institute many years ago. Listening to it again confirmed my memories of a deeply serious artist, strikingly pictured in the cover photo. She has a pure voice, perfectly controlled and using minimal vibrato, and a peculiar rapt intensity which is supported here by very beautiful piano playing (Steinway D). I have been pleased to confirm that it is still available, from French Amazon.
Véronique Dietschy has a more recent Debussy CD Accord 722552, which I have not heard, accompanied by Emmanuel Strosser – different songs, none of them included in either of the CDs reviewed here: Dans le jardin; Voici que le printemps; (Les) Angélus; Romance; Noël des enfants qui n'ont plus de maison; Nuits blanches; Regret; (La) Romance d'Ariel; (3) Ballades de François Villon.
Sandrine Piau also understands these songs well, and includes youthful Mélodies de jeunesse. Of particular interest is the accompaniment on a well preserved Erard of 1897 in Jos van Immerseel's collection, restrung recently but otherwise in its original condition. In a detailed note he explains that because it is not overstrung, the different registers have their own character. I always have a penchant for pianos that András Schiff described as not "black and made by Steinway", and this is one good reason to acquire this survey of Debussy's songs. If you can only afford one, however, my vote is for Dietschy's.
Copyright © 2004, Peter Grahame Woolf