Mary Bevan / Joseph Middleton


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Aside from Henri Duparc's Romance de Mignon and the four Mignon Lieder of Franz Schubert, which are based on poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, soprano Mary Bevan's 2017 release on Signum Classics is mostly devoted to settings of poetry by Charles Baudelaire, by French composers who showed a deep affinity for his visionary writings. Duparc, Gabriel Fauré, Emmanuel Chabrier, Déodat de Séverac, Claude Debussy, and Maurice Rollinat contributed musical settings for some of Baudelaire's most beloved verses, including L'Invitation au voyage, Harmonie du soir, Chant d'Automn, Le jet d'eau, and other atmospheric poems that captured their imagination. Bevan's warm tone and sensitivity to the nuances of the words and music create a consistent mood throughout the album, and the restrained accompaniment of pianist Joseph Middleton sustains the feeling of veiled mystery that Bevan successfully conveys. While the Schubert songs introduce German lyrics and a clearer sense of tonality than the later French mélodies, their shadings and gentle lyricism are in keeping with the program, and Bevan's expressive interpretations and smooth delivery reveal her profound artistry and love for this repertoire.

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