Works by Gabriel Fauré and Richard Wagner aren't usually mentioned in the same breath, though an astute listener will easily understand why they are brought together for this late Romantic program. The lush and atmospheric harmonies and languorous melodies of Fauré's Pelléas et Mélisande, the Élégie, and his songs sort well with the benign lyricism and yearning chromaticism of Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, a serenade based on themes from the music drama, Siegfried. Indeed, this album demonstrates how pervasive Wagner's influence was, that even the classically calm and composed Fauré could not resist its expressive possibilities. The Orchestre de l'Opéra de Rouen Haute-Normandie is conducted by Oswald Sallaberger, with cellist François Salque featured in the Élégie, and mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes is the soloist in the "Chanson de Mélisande" and the six mélodies. Taken as a whole, the music throughout is low-key and gentle, which listeners would expect from the Fauré selections, but Siegfried Idyll is also quite mellow and soothing, so anyone who wants a CD of relaxing music that is free of bombast will appreciate this serene disc.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Pelléas et Mélisande, Op. 180|