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*** DEBUSSY: "Forgotten Songs"; others. Dawn Upshaw, soprano. James Levine, piano. (Sony)

May 11, 1997|Chris Pasles

The "Forgotten Songs" were actually published as a set and they constitute revisions of earlier works. No discoveries here. The real forgotten songs on this recording are the unpublished pieces written, while Debussy was a student, for soprano Marie-Blanche Vasnier, a married woman he loved. Vasnier had a high extension and these early works exploit that range in a Massenet-like style. Gradually, however, he found his own compositional voice, as this recording chronicles (ending with the mature "Cinq Poemes de Charles Baudelaire"). Upshaw brings a limpid soprano and interpretive grace to the music. Levine is a superb collaborator.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good), four stars (excellent).

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