Régine Crespin and Irma Kolassi – Fauré, Soir, Op. 83, No 2

I am going to do something a little unusual.  I’m going to have two different artists sing one of my favorite Fauré mélodies – Soir (Evening).  The piece sung by Régine Crespin will be a link to youtube.  The Irma Kolassi performance will be an inserted mp3 (I hope that it works), and finally, because I have given up on copyrighted translations, the sheet music with an English translation is attached.  Whew!  But your job is to compare the musicality (the phrasing, the intonation, the pitch, (are they in tune?), the breath control, the legato, I could go on.  Which speaks to you more?

Crespin .      https://youtu.be/Xzkxoz0zuWg

This is from a French television program that she did.  It is exquisite.

Kolassi .

Music   Soir, sheet music

Régine Crespin (February 23, 1927 –July 5, 2007) was a French singer who had a major international career in opera and on the concert stage between 1950 and 1989. She started her career singing roles in the dramatic soprano and spinto soprano repertoire, drawing particular acclaim singing Wagner and Strauss heroines. She was called a Falcon, named after the dramatic French soprano Cornélie Falcon. She went on to sing a wider repertoire that consisted of  Italian, French, German, and Russian opera from a variety of musical periods. Throughout her career she was widely admired for the elegance, warmth and subtlety of her singing, especially in the French and German operatic repertories.

Crespin’s international career began when she was chosen by Wieland Wagner (grandson of composer Richard Wagner, and great-grandson of composer Franz Liszt – the Wagner family tree gets very complicated) to portray the role of Kundry in Wagner’s Parsifal at the 1958 Bayreuth Festival, despite the fact that she had never sung Wagner in German.  Her performance was so well liked that she was invited to sing Kundry (the lead female role in Parsifal) again for the 1959 and 1960 Bayreuth Festivals.

Crespin’s performances of Kundry effectively launched her international opera career.

Crespin’s friends called her La Crespinette.  She was very well known for singing French mélodie.  Her “Spectre de la Rose”, part of Berlioz’s “Les Nuits d’été” is simply stunning.

 

Irma Kolassi (May 28, 1918 – March 27, 2012) was a wonderful Greek mezzo soprano who spent a good deal of her life in France. At one point, she taught at the Conservatory in Athens, where one of her students was Maria Callas.  She was able to return to France in 1949, and she worked extensively with melodies of Ravel and the Groupe of Six (a group of French composers that united between 1892 and 1923.  They were:  Georges Auric (1899-1983), Louis Durey (1888-1979), Arthur Honegger (1892-1955), Darius Milhaud (1892-1974), Francis Poulenc (1899-1963), and Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983). Their music was a reaction to impressionism and Wagnerism.  They were very influenced by the ideas of Erik Satie’s ideas and of Jean Cocteau.