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Marie-Nicole Lemieux ~ L'heure exquise

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Audio CD, October 18, 2005
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Product Details

  • Performer: Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Daniel Blumenthal
  • Composer: Claude Debussy, Reynaldo Hahn, Ernest Chausson, Georges Enesco
  • Audio CD (October 18, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naive
  • ASIN: B000AR7GDM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,280 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Estreines A Anne
2. Languir Me Faits
3. Aux Damoyselles Paresseuses D'escrire A Leurs Amys
4. Estrene De La Rose
5. Present De Couleur Blanche
6. Changeons Propos, C'est Trop Chante D'amours...
7. Du Confict En Douleur
8. D'une Prison
9. L'heure Exquise
10. Fetes Galantes
11. L'Albatros
12. Le Chevalier Malheur, Op.34 No.2
13. Apaisement, Op.13 No.1
14. La Chanson Bien Douce, Op.34 No.1
15. Offrande
16. A Chloris
17. The Swing
18. Windy Nights
19. My Ship And I
20. The Stars
See all 27 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 7, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Marie-Nicole Lemieux, a qúebécoise not yet into her thirties, has a voice in a million. She burst on the recording scene with a CD of Handel arias, then sang a glorious Orlando in Vivaldi's 'Orlando furioso,' and then put out a less successful CD of Brahms lieder. Now she's back with a well-chosen clutch of mélodies by Georges Enesco, Reynaldo Hahn, Ernest Chausson and Claude Debussy. The CD is called 'L'Heure exquise' after the drop-dead beautiful Hahn song of that name, and for me it is the highlight of the disc. Lemieux's creamy tones embrace the bewitching verses and leave one almost stunned with their beauty. The same is true in Hahn's baroque-ish 'À Chloris.'

Debussy's 'Fêtes galantes II,' set to ephemeral verses by Paul Verlaine, are a little less successful, although Lemieux is able to fine down the voice to an impressionistic whisper in 'Les ingénus' and 'Le faune.' One must mention the absolutely superb accompaniment supplied by pianist Daniel Blumenthal, a marvelous soloist in his own right.

I was not at all familiar with the Enesco's 'Sept chansons de Clément Marot' (the poet little known to anglophones until memorialized so trenchantly in Douglas Hofstadter's book about the perils of translation, 'Le Ton beau de Marot') and they are a real find. I particularly like No. 3 'Aux damoyselles paresseuses d'escrire a leur amys' ('To the Damsels that are too lazy to Write to their Suitors') with its fetching piano accompaniment and the light-hearted but frustrated suitor's complaint. 'Estrene de la rose' ('The Gift of the Rose') could have been written by Debussy. Such luscious whole-tone harmonies to support the verses about Venus and Adonis.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. on April 6, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is the only readily available solo disc by the thirty-year-old contralto despite contributions to several baroque releases. She shows a remarkable affinity for the music of Hahn, whose songs are most represented of the composers chosen. Although not supplanting the revelatory album of Susan Graham, Lemieux's mix of familiar and more obscure melodies by that quintessential Parisian prove she commands the subtlety of nuance and precarious balance between classicism and sensuality that his music evinces. Tempi are on the brisk side, which does not preclude a coherently narrative version of Trois jours de vendage, which can seem episodic in other readings. The five songs to Robert Louis Stevenson texts are given a performance neither sentimental nor studied, a clear notch above the only competition on disc. Daniel Blumenthal's accompaniments avoid indulgence almost to a fault, though listeners who find this repertoire's sweetness potentially cloying will thank him. (The wrong bass note near the end of A Chloris is inexplicable, however.)
The archaically tinged Enesco songs- no trace of Romania here- and eerie Chausson works (compare his setting of Verlaine to Hahn's L'heure exquise) were wonderful introductions for me, while a group of three short Debussy settings make for the strongest stylistic contrast within in the program.
Hopefully Lemieux will make further recorded forays beyond the eighteenth century.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J.Douglas Modig on November 5, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Marie-Nicole Lemieux ~ L'heure exquise

Lemieux will guarantee a L'heure exquise if you appreciate the principally Impressionist repertoire of Chausson, Reynaldo Hahn et altri. This canadian alto/mezzo sings in her native language and she is as exquisite as the wonderful material she performs with pondus and vocal beauty of stunning proportions.

Like Orgonasova, the amazing but sadly underrated light Slovac soprano, Lemieux seems to live in the shadow of the contemporary fashionable model look alike divas that produce endless recordings, technically remastered to perfection.

With Lemieux there is no showing off, only honest mastery of whatever she decides to sing. I cannot think of any greater contemporary Chausson, Debussy,Enescu or Hahn interpreter, possibly in company with Gens, but talent and skill is not enough to create a fix star or Lemieux would be on the charts interminably.

Her artistry is outstanding and her renditions impeccable. This recording is one of the most endearing for decades. She is simply marvelous with a tessitura to die for.

I do not know what it takes to have the audiencies discovering her unique talent. She should be up there at the very centre of attention of music lovers together with Norman, Stemme, Bartoli and Kozena.

Obviously the criteria for what dictate the creation of mega star is random or Lemieux would be one of the best selling mezzos ever...
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