Magazine article Opera Canada

Temps Nouveau

Magazine article Opera Canada

Temps Nouveau

Article excerpt

TEMPS NOUVEAU

MICHELE LOSIER/OLIVIER GODIN

ATMA Classique: ACD22720

The French melodie, or nineteenth century French art song, is often compared to its German counterpart, the lied, and sometimes comes up second best. But although there are similarities, the melodie is its own distinct art form as different in character, expression and style to the lied as the two neighboring nationalities are different in their literature or cuisine. In explaining some of the traits of the melodie, Claude Debussy wrote "clarity of expression, precision and concentration of form are qualities peculiar to the French genius." And the great French baritone and melodie champion Pierre Bernac continued in this vein with "These qualities are indeed most noticeable when again compared with the German genius, excelling as it does in long, uninhibited outpourings, directly opposed to the French taste, which abhors overstatement and venerates concision and diversity." Bernac believed, rightly, that where the German musical spirit tended to be expressed in an assertive statement of emotion, the French was more in the manner of suggestion.

It's these French musical traits that are lovingly caught on this new Atma Classique CD with the New Brunswick mezzosoprano Michele Losier and pianist Olivier Godin, in a nicely varied selection of melodies by Gounod, Massenet, Franck, Bizet and Saint-Saens. The CD title, Temps Nouveau, comes from one of the songs by Saint-Saens included. Losier's career keeps her busy in most of the world's great opera houses, working with top conductors but she shows a special affection for melodies in her recital programs. …

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