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Sandrine Piau (soprano) Susan Manoff (piano)

[ Alpha / CD ]

Release Date: Friday 20 April 2018

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After a number of appearances in Alpha productions (notably as a sublime Alcina in the DVD conducted by Christophe Rousset and staged by Pierre Audi at La Monnaie), Sandrine Piau now joins the label for several recordings. With Chimère, she invites us on a voyage into the intimate and infinite territory of dreams. 'Chimera: an illusory, unsatisfied quest, the graveyard of our illusions...' She and her longstanding partner, the pianist Susan Manoff, have thought up a programme combining the German lied (Hugo Wolf, one of Schumann's Mignon songs, a scene from Goethe's Faust by Carl Loewe), Mélodies by Debussy and Poulenc (his Banalités), and Art Songs by Barber along with discoveries of more rarely heard composers like Ivor Gurney and the Dickinson Songs of André Previn - the celebrated American conductor is less well-known for his compositions, which include this magnificent cycle written for Renée Fleming. Equally at home in French, German and English, Sandrine Piau is at the peak of her artistry. Fantoches, Clair de Lune, Solitary Hotel, Will there really be a morning?: set out for the world of dreams following this unique poetic itinerary. 'The land of chimeras is the only one in this world worth living in' (Jean-Jacques Rousseau).

"The repertoire is eclectic and, also as before, Susan Manoff offers supremely sensitive and subtle piano-playing to complement singing of intense beauty: beguilingly gentle of timbre, Piau's is a voice that can bloom sensuously at the top, and which she controls exquisitely...this is one of the most fascinating, satisfying and moving recital discs to have come my way for some time. It's beautifully recorded too." Gramophone Editor's Choice July 2018

"An appreciative nod to soprano Sandrine Piau and pianist Susan Manoff, whose recital Chimère, is an exploration, through song, of dreams. I give Piau and Manoff equal billing, as this is more than a soprano and her accompanist. Their contributions are matched, even down to the interesting CD booklet. Piau provides a delicate tone that belies a certain tensile strength, and Manoff's playing brings out colours and textures beyond mere support. Their programme, ranging from Schumann through Debussy to Previn, is judiciously chosen and beautifully executed" Opera Now


1 Lieder und Balladen: Ach neige, du Schmerzenreiche Carl Loewe
2 Lieder und Gesänge aus 'Wilhelm Meister', Op.98a:
Mignon 'Kennst du das Land?' Robert Schumann
3 Lieder und Gesänge, Op.127: Dein Angesicht Robert Schumann
4 Myrthen, Op.25: Die Lotosblume Robert Schumann
5 Fêtes Galantes I, CD 86: En sourdine Claude Debussy
6 Fêtes Galantes I, CD 86: Fantoches Claude Debussy
7 Fêtes Galantes I, CdD 86: Clair de lune Claude Debussy
8 Verschwiegene Liebe Hugo Wolfe
9 Nixe Binsefuss Hugo Wolfe
10 Das verlassene Mägdelein Hugo Wolfe
11 Lied vom Winde Hugo Wolfe
12 5 Elizabethan Songs, IIG 2: Sleep Ivor Gurney
13 Heart! We will forget him Robert Baksa
14 Banalités, FP 107: Chanson d'Orkenise Francis Poulenc
15 Banalités, FP 107: Hôtel Francis Poulenc
16 Banalités, FP 107: Fagnes de Wallonie Francis Poulenc
17 Banalités, FP 107: Voyage à Paris Francis Poulenc
18 Banalités, FP 107: Sanglots Francis Poulenc
19 Despite and Still, Op.41 No.4: Solitary Hotel Samuel Barber
20 Métamorphoses, FP 121: C'est ainsi que tu es Francis Poulenc
21 Three Dickinson Songs: As Imperceptibly as Grief André Previn
22 Three Dickinson Songs: Will there Really be a Morning? André Previn
23 Three Dickinson Songs: Good Morning Midnight André Previn

CHIMERE // Sandrine Piau & Susan Manoff