Marie Perbost: Une jeunesse à Paris (CD)

Harmonia Mundi
Current Stock:
Marie Perbost, Josephine Ambroselli

The Harmonia Nova series welcomes young artists singled out for their exceptional talents.

Whether in classical mélodies, chanson or even operetta, Marie Perbost embodies the multiple ingredients of the musical discourse with incomparable sensuousness and poetry.

An actress to the core, she has conceived this programme devoted to ‘a French youth’ along with her chosen partners, skilfully mixing in a few ‘hits’ with rare and precious pieces - many of them very amusing.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


  1. Poulenc Les chemins de l'amour
  2. Hervé Le Voyage en Amérique, IH. 27, Acte I, No. 3: Rondeau du mollet
  3. Kosma Le Cauchemar du chauffeur de taxi
  4. Hervé La Femme à Papa, IH. 8, Acte II, No. 12: Rondeau de la pensionnaire
  5. Jean Delettre Mon Rendez-vous
  6. Hahn, R Une revue, RH. 97: La Dernière Valse

Poulenc Banalités, FP. 107

  1. Chanson d'Orkenise
  2. Hôtel
  3. Fagnes de Wallonie
  4. Voyage à Paris
  5. Sanglots
  1. Debussy 2 Romances: L'Âme évaporée, FL. 65
  2. Serpette Le Petit Chaperon rouge, Acte II, No. 11: Duo des bijoux "Allons, vite" (Denisette, Narcisse)
  3. Offenbach La Périchole, Acte I: Griserie-ariette " Ah ! Quel dîner je viens de faire" (La Périchole)
  4. Désiré Dihau Ça ne vaut pas la tour Eiffel
  5. Hervé La Cosaque: No. 18. Couplets du coiffeur
  6. Messager L'Amour masqué, Acte I: J'ai deux amants

Debussy Ariettes oubliées, FL. 63

  1. C'est l'extase langoureuse
  2. Il pleure dans mon cœur
  3. Weill, K La Complainte de la Seine
  4. Lecocq: Les Cent Vierges, Acte II, No. 15: Grande Valse (Gabrielle)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


From the recital hall to the nightclub in charming company



With her mellifluous voice, intelligence and innate feel for the idiom, newcomer Marie Perbost is perfectly suited to this thoughtfully assembled recital of early 20th century French songs. In a program built around the theme of a young person in Paris, she sings the first two of Claude Debussy's Ariettes oubliées, caressing the line tenderly, but is feisty in Reynaldo Hahn's La Derniére Valse, which shows off the strength of her top notes. When she croons "Pour Paris, Paris joli" in Francis Poulenc's Voyage à Paris it's like a saucy wink - whereas when Jessye Norman sang it, it sounded if she were addressing the entire population of that city. Perbost is also subtle in Ah! Quel diner, admittedly a much earlier piece. In this song from Offenbach's La Perichole, the girl has had one or two many drinks, and Perbost pitches it absolutely right. (In her rendition, the great Régine Créspin had apparently had at least five or six more.)

An interesting addition to the program is a song by Kurt Weill, written in French in the short period when he lived in Paris during the 1930s, before heading to New York. His unmistakable style is evident from the very first chords of La Complainte de la Seine.

Not all French music of that time was classical, of course. Other contemporary French artists have delved into the world of the nightclubs and boulevard operettas. Alexander Tharaud and Patricia Petitbon are two who spring to mind. Unlike the quirky Petitbon, Perbost does not abandon her trained soprano sound for the popular material, but chooses tuneful numbers (mostly waltzes) that show it off. One of the loveliest is Mon Rendezvous, a "slow-fox chanté" by Jean Delletre. She is joined by the light tenor of Paco Garcia in a duet from an operetta called Le Petit Chaperon Rouge, which sounds as if it might be very witty. And that brings me to the only problem with this release: Much of this repertoire is completely unfamiliar, yet in the booklet the lyrics only appear in French with no translations. (Half a star off for that.) If you speak French you will understand every word, since Perbost's diction is impeccable. If not, you can still revel in the musicality.

The disc is part of a new series of Harmonia Nova, introducing young artists in their debut recordings. As soon as you hear the opening track, Poulenc's lilting Les Chemins de l'amour (one of his most memorable mélodies), I'm sure you will agree that Perbost is here to stay. The accompaniments played by Joséphine Ambroselli and 'friends' are perfectly judged, and sound is excellent. 4.5 STARS