HIGH RESOLUTION AUDIO A GRAMOPHONE GUIDE
B O S T O N
I E S
S E R
I T Y
/ C E L E B R
T O R R E S
O B E R T
P H O T O G R A P H Y
Magni icent sweep: Christian Tetzla f, Tanja Tetzla f and Lars Vogt play Dvořák with tenderness and great generosity of spirit over-fussy in his shaping of the theme that launches the Variations sérieuses. But any doubt here is overcome by the lithe brilliance of what follows: even the most technically demanding variations (such as Var 12, which can sound overly hammered in some readings) are given with a commanding ease. I was slightly underwhelmed by his Rondo capriccioso, where he was a little too mannered for my taste (here Perahia is by turns entirely songful and thrillingly airborne – Sony, 5/85). But the ‘Venetian Gondola Song’ from the Songs Without Words is beautiful indeed, concluding a delightful disc. Harriet Smith Piano Concertos – selected comparisons: Hough, CBSO, Foster (9/97) (HYPE) CDA66969 Brautigam, Cologne Academy, Willens (2/19) (BIS) BIS2264 Prosseda, Hague Residentie Orch, de Vriend (2/19) (DECC) 481 7207
Andrew Everard writes A wonderfully open and clean recording bene its from the extra detail and dynamics afforded by the Qobuz high-resolution iles, presenting this dramatic pairing of piano concertos and some enticing ‘ ill-ups’ with speed, luency and inesse and a lovely sense of presence and performance.
Offenbach ‘Colorature’ Les bavards – Ce sont d’étranges personnages. Les bergers – Ouverture. Boule de neige – Allons! Couché; Je suis du pays vermeil; Souvenance. Les contes d’Hoffmann – Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour (Berceuse)a; Les oiseaux dans la charmille. Fantasio – Cachons l’ennui de mon âme; Voilà toute la ville en fête. Un mari à la porte – J’entends, ma belle. Mesdames de la Halle – Quel bruit et quel tapage. Orphée aux Enfers – La mort m’apparaît souriante. Le roi Carotte – Le voilà … C’est bien lui. Robinson Crusoé – Conduisez-moi vers celui que j’adore. Vert-Vert – Les plus beaux vers sont toujours fades. Le voyage dans la lune – Je suis nerveuse Jodie Devos sop aAdèle Charvet mez Munich Radio Orchestra / Laurent Campellone Alpha F ALPHA437 (61’ • DDD) Includes texts and translations
There’s no getting away from the fact that an entire album of wall-to-wall
Offenbachian coloratura, a festival of the chanteuse d’agilité popping high Ds and E flats and even straight Es like they were going out of fashion, is not everyone’s idea of perfect heaven – especially without the context and counterbalance of the complete operettas, most of which now languish in obscurity awaiting a kindly revival. The idea of dipping into a collection such as this (as one might a box of luxury chocolates) would be more realistic to some – myself included.
But the exponent here – Jodie Devos – is a charming and devilishly virtuoso singer and if anyone can make a case for polishing off the entire collection in one sitting it is her. Plus one cannot ever underestimate the influential genius of Offenbach, whose satirical touch, his way with comedy and derision and the obligatory high-kicking buffo elements, is repeatedly offset with the tender and the beguiling. A quiet way of being showy, if you like.
The main thing to say about Devos – and her thoroughly idiomatic partner-infrolic, Laurent Campellone – is that she (and this is a huge compliment) delivers all that is required of her, and more, with the apparent ease of one who knows how important it is to conceal the difficulty. The real kicker with this album is the way in which number after number springs its surprises. The vocal pyrotechnics are artfully designed to make one’s jaw hit the floor.
So Devos kick-starts proceedings with the first of three numbers from Boule de neige (unfamiliar perchance?) in which a ubiquitous Olga tells of an exotic land ‘where the gazelle bounds, where the hummingbird glitters in the golden rays of the sun’ and does so with the explosive glee of a bottle of bubbly that has been vigorously shaken. Her first D above top C is delivered. Then there is VertVert and a wonderfully cynical number in which≈the show-off chanteuse – this is a song about a singer – brazenly mocks her uncultivated audiences while handing out the popping-candy they so crave.
From a clutch of waltz songs are two that caught my ear: one from Un mari à la porte and another from Robinson Crusoé, both eminently catchy and high-
Click on an album cover to buy/stream gramophone.co.uk | GRAMOPHONE JULY 2019 11