Although the French composer Ange Flégier (1846–1927) has now been lost from view, he enjoyed considerable fame in his own time thanks to the extraordinary reception of his song Le Cor. Indeed, the mélodie holds a predominant place in his catalogue of more than 350 works. Flégier’s songs, composed for his colleagues at the Opéra de Paris, are large-scale and orchestrally conceived, sitting stylistically close to Duparc in their dignified drama. Many of them receive their first recordings or first modern recordings here.
Jared Schwartz, bass
Mary Dibbern, piano
Thomas Demer, viola (Track 9)
**First Modern Recordings
Catalogue No: TOCC0306EAN/UPC: 5060113443069Release Date: 29.09.2016Composer: Ange Flégier Artists: Jared Schwartz,
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Rob Barnett :
‘Le Cor is Flégier’s signature work. … It is a pensive piece recounting the sad heroics of the Chanson de Roland… The piano line skips and fanfares. … La Poésie is a smooth soliloquy with Schwartz, without a tremble, amazingly sustaining some very long breaths. L’Homme et la Mer is in the nature of a contemplation of the sea and mankind. … There are also some beautifully poised pages of piano writing – and playing. La Neige is a long song at 7:21. Here Schwartz’s impressively leonine steadiness is in pleasing evidence again. He really does make a noble sound which would go well also in French opera. … In Le Manoir Schwartz sounds like the archetype of the Stanford baritone in Songs of the Sea. It’s a stirring song rather than a philosophical essay but in À la dérive Flégier returns to type. It’s interesting that the ‘type’ is rarely lugubrious; serious and sometimes in shade yes, but not gloomy. Thomas Demer’s viola appears only once and alongside the piano in Apaisement. This has the air of music-hall sentimentality. It is paced steadily and with well considered judgement. O Salutaris is a rather glum setting touched with religiosity but it’s the shortest song here by a long chalk. … The 18 page illustrated essay on Flégier and his mélodies is more than admirable. … Explorers of French mélodies have no choice and will be rewarded by what they hear. Where next for Toccata and this singer?’ –Music Web International, October 2016
Henry Fogel :
“What a wonderful discovery. … Thomas Demer plays the viola part exquisitely, and this is one of those tunes that will remain in your head long after you’ve heard it. These are first-rate songs that do not merit the obscurity in which they have languished. … Jared Schwartz has performed a real service by rescuing this music, and letting us hear it for ourselves. … His voice is darkly colored, a bit grainy, capable of a wide range of dynamics. … Mary Dibbern is extremely sensitive in her accompaniments, clearly interacting with Schwartz (and vice-versa). Toccata provides a very insightful and helpful essay by Hervé Oléon, along with texts and translations. … Recommended with enthusiasm.” —Fanfare Magazine, March/April 2017
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