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Debussy, Messiaen & Fauré

Olivier Messiaen Poèmes pour Mi;
Claude Debussy Ariettes oubliées;
Gabriel Fauré Les roses d'Ispahan; Nell; Après un rêve; Adieu

Susanna Phillips, soprano Myra Huang, piano


An outstanding recording by two young American-based musicians, the Alabama-born opera singer's solo debut CD; the more experienced pianist an equal partner.

It was Messiaen's great early cycle (1936) for his first wife 'Mi', to original, and somewhat mystical, texts by Messiaen himself, which attracted my attention. From previous experiences it was remembered as thrilling music, not as recondite as some from later, but a daunting Everest to essay, demanding alike for listeners as for its interpreters.

Not so here. Susanna Phillips takes it comfortably in her stride, with unruffled beauty of tone, no problems with its extremes of tessitura, excellent French and - to boot - she gives us her own translation of these poems to help us follow them more fully. Myra Huang's collaboration is no less impressive and (over three days last year) they were recorded in perfect balance by Adam Abeshouse.
With the Messiaen framed by two delectable groups of Debussy & Fauré, the production, with good explanatory notes, is to Bridge's high standard (with texts in large print, black on glossy white) under the Starobins' supervision.

Recommended enthusiastically.

Peter Grahame Woolf