Magazine article Gramophone

Debussy: Mandoline

Magazine article Gramophone

Debussy: Mandoline

Article excerpt

Debussy [R] Mandoline. Dans le jardin. Trois Melodies de Verlaine. Trois Chansons de France. Fetes galantes--serie II. Le promenoir des deux amants. Trois Ballades de Francois Villon. Trois Poemes de Stephane Mallarme. Noel des enfants qui n'ont plus de maisons Thierry Felix bass-bar Stany David Lasry pf Arcana (F) A446 (49' * DDD * T/t) Recorded 1995. From A44

Thierry Felix's Debussy recital was recorded in 1995 but seems largely to have been overlooked on its first release a year later. It's a striking disc, however, carefully programmed and, at its best, engagingly done. Felix, who gave up his performing career for the church some years ago and was ordained a deacon in 2013, gives us the late songs (from 1904 onwards) complete, prefaced by 'Mandoline', 'Dans le jardin' and the Trois Melodies de Verlaine from 1891. His lightish, agile bass-baritone is attractive and his way with words consistently deft. The rapid shifts between irony and sincerity in the Villon ballads are beautifully done, though he's at his best in the Verlaine sets, with their imagery of sexual and emotional regret: 'Le son du cor s'afflige vers les bois' from Trois Melodies sounds very desolate; 'Colloque sentimentale' which closes the second Fetes galantes, is marvellous in its melancholy bitterness.

Felix's pianist Stany David Lasry, meanwhile, plays an 1874 Erard--the type of instrument that Debussy himself would have used as a Conservatoire student and for which many of his earlier piano works would have been written. …

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