Céline Ricci / Daniel Lockert

Cirque

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

This album certainly captures the spirit of a circus through its repertoire of whimsical pieces by French composers, including Erik Satie and Darius Milhaud. Performed by Céline Ricci with pianist Daniel Lockert, they are a unique introduction to late 19th and 20th century art songs that are more accessible than, say, German lieder, as they have a more popular feel. However, for much of this album, something does not seem to work quite right. Perhaps it is the fact that Ricci, who bills herself on her website as a "soprano, lyric coloratura," is singing material that does not seem to fit her voice and style of singing. To her credit, her voice is solid and does not break; at times there is good power and clear diction, for the rapid delivery of words does not faze her. Yet Ricci makes a number of questionable choices, such as scooping or sliding up to pitches, which often renders them off-key and affects the technique, as happens more than once in Cirque. This is not to say that there should be no scooping at all, but an excess of it, and when not done properly, makes a piece sound unattractive. Very often, there is not much vibrato, such as in Six chansons de Theâtre, and one can only ask why. The answer could be that this repertoire requires the singer to interpret the pieces either with straight tone in a more popular manner, or performed operatically. Ricci sometimes seems to straddle the line uneasily, opting for a straight tone with crescendos or decrescendos, or using a rather wide, spread vibrato. Some of her high notes are not secure as she approaches them, such as in the Cocardes, where her sound is not entirely consistent. There are indeed a number of enjoyable moments, where she truly seems to enjoy the words -- "dirigeable" and rolling her Rs "très, très, très…" -- and where her technique and artistry work together, such as in both sets of chansons. Daniel Lockert does a wonderful job of accompanying the singer, playing with great energy and caprice; his solo interludes are very engaging and well-placed in the album, a showcase of his musical talents. Overall, though, one might say that Ricci's style of singing may not be to everybody's taste, though the repertoire is most definitely delightful.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Cirque
1 0:49 Amazon
2 1:38 Amazon
3 0:31 Amazon
4 1:18
5 1:25
Trois Poèmes
6 0:53
7 1:08
8 0:54
9 2:19
Cocardes
10 2:44
11 1:39
12 2:19
13 1:47
Huit Poèmes de Jean Cocteau
14 2:21
15 2:09 Amazon
16 1:53
17 2:41
18 2:17 Amazon
19 1:29
20 3:38 Amazon
21 2:51
22 3:57
Six Chansons de Théâtre
23 1:06
24 1:17 Amazon
25 1:25
26 1:31
27 0:43
28 1:38 Amazon
La Voyante
29 5:02
30 3:30
31 2:22
32 1:43
33 6:06
34 5:34 Amazon
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