Susan Graham and Malcolm Martineau perform French melodies
Verbier Festival 2009
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Accompanied by Malcom Martineau on piano, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham presented a concert featuring a fascinating collection of works by celebrated French composers
Alfred Bachelet, Henri Duparc, Maurice Ravel, Camille Saint-Saëns, André Caplet, Albert Roussel, Arthur Honegger,... Often these composers’ works for solo voice are overlooked in favor of flashier works like opera airs, popular music, or German Lieder. And yet the French musical tradition embodied in their work—the literary quality of the poems they set, the special vocal approach required by the 20th century idiom in which they wrote—gave birth to true masterpieces.
Highlights in this unusual concert included the delightfully morbid Danse macabre, the eventual leitmotif of the 1920s, as well as music by the Group of Six, whose works were described by the heroin Bérénice of Louis Aragon's 1944 novel Aurélien as "comical."