Awarded a 2020 Diapason d'Or de l'année, this programme of French mélodies, arranged for solo strings and piano, sets Véronique Gens’s incomparable storytelling artistry in a new light.
As the symbiosis between the art of the poet and that of the composer, the French mélodie became the jewel of the salons of the ‘Belle Époque’. By placing a string quartet and a piano around the singer, Chausson’s Chanson perpétuelle, Lekeu’s Nocturne and Fauré’s La Bonne Chanson oscillate between chamber musical intimacy and orchestral ambition.
Alongside these famous pioneering pieces, this programme devised by the Palazzetto Bru Zane champions a return to the art of transcription, so popular in the nineteenth century, with the aim of expanding the repertory for voice, strings and piano in order to unearth some forgotten treasures. Hence Hahn, Berlioz, Saint-Saëns, Massenet, La Tombelle, Ropartz, Louiguy and Messager all appear in a programme whose guiding thread is the emotions of nocturnal abandonment: the charms of twilight, the trajectory of dreams, the terror of nightmare or the exhilaration of festive occasions. Alexandre Dratwicki has made these arrangements in the style of the nineteenth century.
A highlight of the programme is La Vie en rose, for this music offers a kaleidoscope of all the colours of human feeling.