La vie est une parade
Patrice Michaels, soprano
The Chicago Chamber Musicians
Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Paul Freeman, conductor
Cedille Records CDR 90000 070
"This is the disc I will return to again and again. Not only is Michaels a fine soprano with a bell-like sonority...but she's got sophisticated taste in music. Hers is the best rendition of Britten's "Les Illuminations" since Heather Harper 40 years ago. And Michaels' impeccable French is better.... Witty, adult and smart...a great addition to your French song library." (San Francisco Examiner)
This unique program features Benjamin Britten's evocative masterpiece for soprano and strings, Les Illuminations, and Darius Milhaud's rarely-recorded vocal tour de force, originally written for Lily Pons, Quatre Chansons de Ronsard; along with delightful rarities by Erik Satie and Germaine Tailleferre (the only female member of "Les Six").
INTRODUCTION - by Patrice Michaels
I fell in love with Milhaud's music early in my singing life, and was privileged to perform these songs with the Montreal Symphony during my first international competition. The Britten setting of Rimbaud poems has also challenged and sustained me for some years now. I came to the world of song literature through my passion for theater and my fascination with folk music. The Tailleferre songs use deceptively simple material the way a master baker makes a baguette: the result appears inevitably natural and tastes irresistible. Satie's songs are an amazing collection of dramatic wit and warmth that tie the whole program together the way wine and spices unify a meal. We might well have titled this disc "La vie est un repas," except that the project really was a parade across continents, involving a legion of artists: we began performing and recording with the Czech National Symphony in Prague and ended in Chicago, assisted by the extensive vocal/instrumental archives of Editions Salabert in Paris. It was a sweet surprise to receive among the Tailleferre scores from Salabert four songs that were (to my knowledge) previously unrecorded. These, of course, joined the procession along with the newly made Satie arrangements from Easley Blackwood, all of which were a thrill for me to premiere with The Chicago Chamber Musicians. Performing this wealth of literature with so many great musicians has been a wonderful sojourn for me. I hope listening to it will prove equally rewarding for you. Bon appetit, and enjoy the parade!
to download the CD booklet.