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Customer Review

on February 16, 2007

Joseph Canteloube (1879-1957) first began collecting and harmonizing the folksongs of the Auvergne in 1908, and in 1923 the first of the 'Chants d'Auvergne' was composed. For some years these songs were firmly established as a landmark in the French repertoire of songs for voice and orchestra, skillfully done, and an excellent vehicle for displaying the soprano voice.

Canteloube was educated at the conservatory 'Schola Cantorum', and studied there in 1902 with Vincent d'Indy in Paris. D'Indy's most important contribution to Canteloube's education was the rigorous technical training he provided, particularly emphasizing harmony and form.

D'Indy thus revealed to him "the power and purity of musical and poetic sources that spontaneously emanate from the earth; dances and popular songs, legends and rustic dances". All this can be ascertained in Cantelouble's 'Chants of the Auvergne'.

There are two that I will mention (because they are my favorites) from this group on the disc and are completely different from each other. "Lou Bossu" which is the rather cruel story of a hunchback who is attracted to a lovely young girl and approaches her for some kind of contact; she, in turn, teases him by faining interest until she finally totally rejects his advances. The phrases are in simple metrical style with the singer portraying both characters. Dawn Upshaw does this exceptionally well, and the orchestral accompaniment supports her and the text. Just a really interesting rendition.

The "Brezairola" (Berceuse) begins luxuriantly with its high violin solo duetting with various wind instruments behind, rather than in between, the song. This melody is one of the most beautiful tunes that I personally have ever encountered, and Upshaw does it justice.
This is a disc worth hearing if you like the classical folk tune experience, and it's all first-rate.
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