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Henri DUPARC (1848–1933)
Lamento - Complete Songs
1. Phidylé [5:49]
2. Sérénade [2:35]
3. Romance de Mignon [4:45]
4. L’invitation au voyage [4:33]
5. Soupir [3:39]
6. Le Manoir de Rosamonde [2:48]
7. Au Pays où se fait la guerre [4:55]
8. Chanson triste [2:59]
9. Lamento [3:25]
10. Le Galop [2:59]
11. Élégie [3:29]
12. Sérénade florentine [2:55]
13. Testament [3:25]
14. La Vie antérieure [4:32]
15. Extase [3:50]
16. La Vague et la Cloche [5:23]
Andrea Mastroni (bass), Mattia Ometto (piano)
rec. 18-20 August 2015, Studio I Musicanti, Rome, Italy
Sung texts are available online

Singers of mélodies in general and Duparc’s small but delicate oeuvre in particular, have often been light-voiced and lyrical. Andrea Mastroni, who started as a clarinettist, made his operatic debut as Il Re and Ramphis in Aida, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte and Sparafucile in Rigoletto - in other words a basso profundo. Wouldn’t he be too heavy a singer for this repertoire, I thought and I read ‘bass’ on the CD-cover, not even ‘bass-baritone’.

He begins this traversal of the sixteen Duparc songs with Phidylé, a setting of Leconte de Lisle. This song is a good test-piece since it is so varied. Mr Mastroni handles the dynamics utterly convincingly, his voice is darkish but he has a richly varied palette of colours and his soft singing is beautiful and assured. His forte is impressive, as can only be expected from a Sarastro, even overwhelming, maybe a mite too much so. Traditional singers of this repertoire tend to be more restricted in volume but it is a fresh and unforced sound.

Sérénade (tr. 2) is inward and restrained, in spite of a couple of dramatic outbursts. This also goes for the lyrical Romance de Mignon. It is a very French reading but with expressionist overtones. The beauty of the voice is undeniable. Having reached track 4 and the favourite L’invitation au voyage, deliciously sung, we leave the singer for a moment and note that his experienced accompanist Mattia Ometto is assured and sensitive. Le Manoir de Rosamonde (tr. 6) is a powerful song where Mastroni’s vocal capacity and histrionic powers are a great asset.

The beautiful Au pays où se fait la guerre (tr. 7), another Duparc song I return to with pleasure, gets a beautifully nuanced reading, and Chanson triste (tr. 8) is again sensitively phrased. In Le Galop (tr. 10) we meet Duparc in exuberant form: intense, lively and rhythmic with a piano part that overflows with almost Lisztian bombast, this is a tour de force for both singer and accompanist. As a matter of fact I have only positive comments about the duo’s readings of these songs. My misgivings that Andrea Mastroni’s grand instrument would mean overkill of some of the songs came to nought. This slightly unorthodox interpretation of Duparc’s unique oeuvre, vital and thought-provoking, is less perfumed than many others. I regret the absence of the sung texts in the booklet but they are available online and that is something you can’t always take for granted, not even with full price issues.

Göran Forsling



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