to work in this place with a huge collection of at least 3000 LPs,
containing some of the most famous recordings in the history of
classical music recording. Unfortunately, this collection was largely
in disuse, literally and sinfully left to collect dust (and I know
many of you out there will pay tons of money for some of these LPs,
for example, the other Melodiya Borodin Quartet Shostakovich
these records was the LP ASD 2826 from EMI, 1973, which contained
on side 2 just nine of these Songs of the Auvergne, sung
by the always regal Victoria de los Angeles. For a long period of
time, during lunchtime, I would dig out this LP and put it on, letting
the gorgeous sounds of the breathtaking Baïlèro, et al. wash
my weariness away.
To this day, only just over a year later, I would never forget this
heavenly recording, with its luscious sounds of string, oboe, Madame
de los Angeles (I wish I could meet her), and harp... of course
when this CD appeared, with the LP's Millet painting inset on the
cover, I snapped it up without hesitation. Now, when I listen to
this Baïlèro, I still sometimes put my hand on my heart,
and sigh in relief that such beauty still exists in this sometimes
awful world (or in my case then, awful workplace).
sits close to the centre of France, a volcanic region dominated
by the Massif Central, an ancient extinct volcano. The fertility
of the area is without doubt; the landscape ranges from volanic
landscape to great expanses of rich forest. Auvergne is the land
of the Arvernes, originally from Gaul, who were driven to the Massif
Central by the Romans in CE 120. Among their legacies is a treasure
trove of folksong, from which Joseph Canteloube found his material
for these orchestral songs.
music portrays the land with startling faithfulness, and in Mdm
de los Angeles' voice, heartfelt love. Who wouldn't hear the lush
landscape, the breathtaking nostalgia in the Baïlèro? Or
how the music brims with the life of grandiose landscape in the
Pastorale of Book IV/5 (track 18). The Orchestre des Concerts
Lamoureux is totally in the service of de los Angeles, patiently
following her every nuance - the rubato is so subtle as to be completely
natural, breathlessly floating with her tenderly passionate voice.
The nature of the songs range widely in feeling and atmosphere;
what makes this such a classic performance is the equally diverse
range of style de los Angeles employs. The Three Bourrées
are full of gaiety, her voice springing with rhythmic vibrancy.
Memorable is the wonderful shift of tempo and tone - from forlorn
expectancy to youthful joy - in the second bourrée, Ound' onorèn
gorda ("Where shall we go and graze") - de los Angeles' marvellous
way with the rhythms of the word-setting is absolutely delicious!
She can be flirtatious (La Pastrouletta è lou Chibalié ("The
Shepherdess and the Gallant") but also supremely, lyrically sorrowful
is cast in many styles - the clownishness with which she portrays
Lou Boussu ("The Hunchback" - 12) and Lou Coucut ("The
Cuckoo") have a Gershwinesque playfulness to them; then there is
the mischievious glee of Chut, chut ("Hush, hush" - 17),
turning boyish for Hé! beyla-z-y dau fé ("Hoy! give him some
hay" - 22) and she is somehow sensuously vibrant in Oï, ayaï
(15), with its orchestral piano accompaniment, depicting the fussy
Marguerite getting out of bed.
still, I think the most impressive are the plain beautiful songs
- in addition to the Baïlèro, one must listen to the magnificent
Passo pel prat ("Come through the Meadow" - 11), with de
los Angeles in queenly voice, and the lullaby of the Brezairola
("Cradle Song") as well as the aptly titled Pour l'enfant
(For the child - 16), shining with violins - such lovely lovely
sounds. Is there another voice who can mix such motherly love, sensuous
tenderness with such heart-welling, soft confidence?
orchestra's majestic accompaniment is spectacular yet unshowy, their
colours seeming to spring forth straight from the land (try in L'Antouèno).
Obal, din lo coumbèlo ("Away down there in the valley" -
20) positively soars with Mdm de los Angeles' epic, lyric magnificence,
gliding and even pulling along the sweep of the Orchestre. It all
brings tears of joy to my eyes in the face of her tremendous art.
Thank you, Victoria de los Angeles.
HAN-LEON longs to go to Spain, the Auvergne and somewhere around
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From: Gerald Ferguson (email@example.com / Wednesday, January 5, 2000 at 13:32:41)
I will try to obtain a copy of Sra. Los Angeles' "Chants", but let's not forget versions by Netania Davrath, Kiri Te Kanawa, Frederica Von Stade; and I always like a very simple, naive performance dating from the '40s by folk-singer Susan Reed. - GAF
From: Y M Ho (firstname.lastname@example.org / Thursday, July 13, 2000 at 17:41:06)
I have not heard Victoria's version of Songs of the Auvergne. I fell in love with
Netania Davrath's version and you know there is no information about her at all on the net
You must listen to Netania's version...Tell me what you think
Netania...Netania...where are you?