Saturday 6 April 2013

Poeme d'un jour - Ailyn Perez and Iain Burnside

Poem d'un Jour - Ailyn Perez, Iain Burnside - Rosenblatt Recitals OPUS ARTE OA CD9013 D
Ailyn Perez and Iain Burnside's recital disc is one of the first group of three issued by the new collaboration between Rosenblatt Recitals and Opus ArteAilyn Perez is a young American lyric soprano, of Mexican parentage, who has been garnering great plaudits. Her and Burnside's programme of French and Spanish song by Reynaldo Hahn, Fernando Obradors, Joaquin Turina, Gabriel Faure and Manuel de Falla plus opera arias by Jules Massenet was partly recorded live at their March 2012 Rosenblatt Recital at St Johns Smith Square, and partly in the studio in 2010.

They open with a group of Reynaldo Hahn songs, A Chloris, L'Heure Exquise and Le Printemps. Perez sings with a lovely rich burnished tone, her lyric soprano surprisingly vivid. Her performance in A Chloris is full of poise and perfect simplicity. In L'Heure Exquise the vocal line is so simple, it is almost nothing but Perez floats its beautifully and suggests infinite erotic possibilities. Le Printemps completes the trio with a beautifully impassioned paen to Spring.

Fernando Obradors set Spanish writers of the 15th to 18th centuries for his Canciones classicas espanolas of 1921. The songs are part of the 20th century Spanish composers rediscovery of their rich tradition of folk-song. Perez delivery of the first song, La misa soloa, Laureola is both haunting and elegant. There is a slight edge to her voice, which combined with a fine sense of line, rather evokes Montserrat Caballe in this type of repertoire. The second song, Al amor, with its lively rhythms, is an infectious delight.

Corazon, por que pasais is quite short, but with a lovely sinuous melody. El majo celsoro has attractively textured complex rhythms in the piano over which Perez floats like water, with a lovely hint of expressive edge to the voice. Though the Obradors songs are less well known than the Hahn, Perez sounds more expressive in the Spanish songs Again in Con Amores, la mia madre she floats the melody over a delightfully infectious piano accompanied with a rhythmic undertow.

In Del cabella mas sutil Burnside weaves a lovely web of piano textures which combines with Perez' affecting account of what is in fact a quite simple melody - quite gorgeous. The final song, Chiquitita la novia is very Spanish, but a complete delight.

Je suis encore tout etourdie from act one of Massenet's Manon is one of the live items. Here Perez gives us quite a sophisticated but still coquettish Manon, with a lovely French tone to the voice.

Born in Seville of Italian parentage, Joaquin Turina spent a few years in Paris before settling in Madrid. His Poema en forma de canciones was published in 1917 and sets poems by the 19th century realist poet and philosopher Ramon de Campoamor. The first movement, Dedicatoria, is for piano solo. It is striking and very Spanish in style but not too hackneyed. The four poems are all complex love songs, almost telling a story.

Nunc olvida has quite lush piano part, and the performers catch the haunting melancholy of the song rather well with Perez singing with a fabulous sense of line. Cantares is impassioned with some lovely wordless passages, highly evocative and very Spanish. Los dos miedos has quite a big piano part, with substantial interludes. By turns wistful and by turns passionate, Perez' performance is always involving and appealing. Las locas por Amor forms a gloriously joyful conclusion to the cycle.

Gabriel Faure's Poeme d'un jour of 1878 sets three poems by the Parnassian poet Charles Grandmougin which takes a love affair from beginning to end. The songs see Perez changing mood and style brilliantly, with a great feel for the language. Rencontre is intense yet confiding, still with a lovely sense of line, whilst Toujours is stormy and intensely passionate. Perez sings the final song, Adieu, with beautiful fined down tone which is still vibrant and lovely.

The second excerpt from Massenet's Manon, also recorded live, is Adieu, notre petit table. Here we are aware of the limits of the piano accompaniment, but Perez is gloriously passionate in the introduction, then she is just right in the aria. She must be a charming and involving Manon on stage.

Hahn's early Si mes vers avaient des ailes sees Perez combining a fine sense of line with good words, the result is very affecting and not too arch. For Le Rossignol des lilas she takes a confiding tone, with effortless shape to the line. Finally in L'Enamouree the sheer beauty of Perez's tone is complemented by Burnside's piano.

Finally, the recital finishes with Manuel de Falla's Siete canciones populares espanolas, written in 1914 to texts all of folk origin. Perez again shows her versatility, singing with a lovely, dark rich tone. El pano moruno is sung with passion and discipline, with great rhythm in the piano. Seguidilla murciana is completely infectious, whilst Asturiana is hauntingly beautiful. The song is taken quite slowly but it works and is mesmerising. Jota is again infectious, and very seductive with a strong piano part. Again I was thinking of Monserrat Caballe, but also Teresa Berganza. Nana is simply and hauntingly beautiful, Cancion is delightful and then in complete contrast the final song Polo is darkly dramatic and passionate

In all these, you hear how Perez varies both tone and style for the different items on the disc. More than that, you sense that there is a strong personality under the voice. This means that the recital hangs together beautifully as a whole, and showcases Perez as a performer. She is excellently supported by Iain Burnside, who contributes some fine piano work.

As with all discs in this series, you get full texts and translations but the notes are quite minimal.

I loved this recital, both for the way the disc captured Ailyn Perez as a performer,  for the entrancing way she and Burnside present this varied but intelligently assembled programme and for the sheer delight of the music on the disc and the way the performers clearly love and enjoy the music.. The disc will please those lovers of Perez's voice, but deserves to attract attention from everyone interested in the wider world of song.

Reynaldo Hahn (1874 - 1947) - A Chloris (1913) [2.49] (1)
Reynaldo Hahn (1874 - 1947) - L'heure exquise (1888) [2.11] (1)
Reynaldo Hahn (1874 - 1947) - Le Printemps (1899) [1.47] (1)
Fernando Obradors (1897 - 1945) - Canciones clasicas espanolas (1921) [12.55] (1)
Jules Massenet (1842 - 1912) - Je suis encore tout etourdie, from Manon (1884) [2.38] (2)
Joaquin Turina (1882 - 1949) - Poema en forma de canciones (1917) [10.15] (1)
Gabriel Faure (1845 - 1924) - Poeme d'un jour (1878) [6.13] (1)
Jules Massenet (1842 - 1912) - Adieu, notre petite table, from Manon (1884) [3.58] (2)
Reynaldo Hahn (1874 - 1947) - Si mes vers avaiet des ailes (1888) [1.46] (1)
Reynaldo Hahn (1874 - 1947) - Le Rossignol de lilas (1913) [1.44] (1)
Reynaldo Hahn (1874 - 1947) - L'Enamouree (1892) [3.12] (1)
Manuel de Falla (1876 - 1946) - Siete canciones populares espanolas (1914) [13.01] (1)
Ailyn Perez (soprano)
Iain Burnside (piano)
Recorded (1) 14-16 June 2020, All Saints, East Finchley, London
(2) Live, 7 March 2012, St John's Smith Square, London
OPUS ARTE OA CD9013 D 1CD [67.22]

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