Ailish Tynan and Iain Burnside: "Fauré Mélodies"
Texts and translations. Opus Arte CD9018 D
Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924) remains one of the great masters of the French art song, or mélodie. An anti-Wagnerian in a Wagnerian age (maybe particularly so in France), he penned many wonderful songs, separately and in cycles, with a characteristic blend of seductive and unpredictable melodic richness and quirky, unexpected harmonic shifts. It's hard to imagine either Debussy or Poulenc's song output developing without Fauré's proto-Impressionist precedent.
This disc of twenty-three songs sung by the young Irish soprano Ailish Tynan with Scottish pianist Iain Burnside offers much enjoyment. The mix chosen draws from both early and late works, the ultra-familiar ("Après un rêve" and "Clair de lune," both ravishing songs) and the relatively obscure. Two of the composer's half-dozen song cycles are included: the first (Cinq Mé́lodies de Venise, op. 58) and the fourth (Le Jardin Clos, set as World War I descended in 1914–15).
Tynan commands a pretty, light instrument that traces the music pleasantly at all speeds; the top of her range is particularly bright, sometimes causing her too swift a change in vocal color in the course of rising lines. Her musicianship seems sound and appealing, but she definitely stresses tone production rather than the more traditional French priority of text over notes. The more familiar songs receive slightly sharper diction, although Tynan's overall approach to the texture is far more soft-grained than that of such exemplary exponents as Souzay and von Stade. Burnside's contribution here is capable and worthy; I would discourage no one from sampling this very pleasant disc.
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