The genre of choral music for equal female voices flourished in France in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries because of the strict separation of students by gender even at the conservatory level, and the young women needed appropriate repertoire. The music selected for this recording by Franck, Delibes, Fauré, and Pierné, for two or three voices and piano, is unfailingly genteel and charming, even though it may not represent any of the composers' most profound inspiration. The Delibes songs, like his ballet scores, are delightful models of grace and gentle melodic inventiveness. The most substantial selections are Fauré's Le Ruisseau, which also features a part for soprano solo, and three songs by Pierné. Most of the pieces are recorded here for the first time, sung by La Choraline, a girl's chorus at Brussels' La Monnaie Royal Opera House, led by Benoît Giaux and Florence Huby. The chorus sings with a sweet, youthful sound, with intonation that is generally very good, but occasionally gets a little fuzzy in some of the close harmonies in the highest register. Guy Penson provides a sensitive and colorful accompaniment and is featured in several piano solos. The sound is spacious and warm.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Duos (6), for soprano, alto & piano, M. 89|
|Sylvia, suite from the ballet|