Mojo presents 15 mindblowing cosmic tracks approved personally by Paul Weller, including Panda Bear, TOY, Public Service Broadcasting, Neu!, Ryley Walker, Syd Arthur and more.
If you love Shakespeare, and / or Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Berlioz and R. Strauss, you need to have this superb album in your collection. Walker is the most gratifying performer in opera and lieder, for beauty of voice (ravishing, audible silk); technique (perfection), intelligence (never-failing); phrasing (absolutely unsurpassed); and interpretation – Walker does not merely "sell" a song, or act convincingly, she etches her performance on your soul. Just listen to her interpretation of the excerpts from MacBeth, set to music by Joseph Horovitz: Walker is a candidate for best Lady MacBeth. One wonders what she would do with the part as straight drama. If that isn't enough, she caresses the Schumann and the Berlioz, nails the Brahms (no accompaniment – totally exposed voice), and slinks away with the tango "Under the Greenwood Tree."
This CD presents the brief but remarkable output of songs by Duparc during his artistic period that was cut short by a nervous affliction. These works are beautifully performed by mezzo-soprano Sarah Walker and baritone Thomas Allen, with sensitive piano accompaniment by Roger Vignoles. The collection opens with Duparc's best known melody, L'invitation au voyage, which is a setting of a text from Baudelaire's Les fleurs du mal. The lovely rolling impressionist piano harmonies are played with exquisite fluidity, as they underscore Walker's velvety and intimate vocals. The Sérénade florentine is an impressionist lullaby to a loved one, delivered with touching emotion by Thomas Allen. Extase, Elégie and Testament show the influence of Wagner, and the Chanson triste is one of Duparc's early, Gounod-style songs. Au pays oú se fait la guerre (1869) is also an early work, but is particularly entrancing with simple modal harmonies and easily perceived song construction. By sensitive use of passing tones in the piano, the harmonies are subtly redefined and the music is extended dramatically toward the end by expressive on-rushes.