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CD Review

Emmanuel Chabrier

Musique adorable

The Complete Songs
Felicity Lott, soprano
Geraldine McGreevy, soprano
Stephen Varcoe, baritone
William Burden, tenor
Toby Spence, tenor
Graham Johnson, piano
Ursula Leveaux, bassoon
Polyphony/Stephen Layton
Hyperion CDA67133/4 2CDs 155m DDD
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Hyperion continues their exploration of French Song repertoire with this magnificent two-disc collection that is dedicated entirely to Chabrier's wonderful contribution to the genre. There are an astonishing 43 songs in this jam-packed collection which also includes a booklet that is more a book as there are over 120 pages of texts and notes in the usual Graham Johnson vein!

One cannot go into such detail when there is so much treasure on offer but the song was definitely one of the finest tools on the Chabrier workbench. There are full rein symphonic pieces matched with exquisite little trivia and other middle-of-the-road pieces, all sung with exquisite fantasy and knowing loveliness by the formidable quartet of singers assembled here.

Texts are varied but one often finds Victor Hugo and other great Francophile writers whose words are most exquisitely matched to music. As usual, I cannot find words to praise Graham Johnson's marvellous and tireless contribution to the project, this is another seminal release that will long make Hyperion famous in the French 'melodie' genre.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech