Édith Piaf


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Released in 2007, EMI's Edith Piaf Platinum Collection presents 45 well-chosen recordings that typify this melodramatic singer's stylized modus and manner. Textures and moods range from friendly and affable ("C'est Merveilleux" and "Je Hais les Dimanches") through perkily theatrical ("La Foule" and "Bravo Pour le Clown!") and epically dramatic ("Exodus," "Les Croix," "Mea Culpa," as well as the beautiful and profoundly moving "Les Trois Cloches") to that bracing extreme, Piaf's amazing Hitchcockian emotional clyster, "Mariage." Here the spectre of matrimony fuels a musical narrative that begins on clouds of whimsicality, gradually mutates under veils of moribund misgivings, and ends with Piaf sounding for all the world as though she is delivering the climactic verses from atop the scaffold with wildly overwrought instrumentation and the maddeningly discordant ringing of sinister church bells. Come to think of it, it'd be worth owning the Platinum Piaf set just to have on hand her painful paean to "Mariage." This is a better deal than other shoddier collections, although with Piaf you generally get what you pay for. With this in mind, a more intensively researched and annotated higher end Piaf set is recommended for anyone wishing to examine her recorded legacy more closely and carefully. If all you want is a good stash of her better work, EMI's Platinum Piaf might be exactly what you're looking for. It's your call.

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