Fetes galantes: Songs & Melodies by Debussy & Faure | Lawo Classics LWC1116

Fetes galantes: Songs & Melodies by Debussy & Faure


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Label: Lawo Classics

Cat No: LWC1116

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 13th January 2017



It is a well-known and undisputed fact that Gabriel Fauré played an important part in the development of the French art song in the transition between the 19th and 20th centuries. Less well known is that Claude Debussy too gave vital impulses to French vocal music, a fact that has long been overshadowed by his impressionist instrumental works.

Fêtes galantes was originally a name for the French aristocracy’s intimate garden parties and comedy plays, which with the paintings of Antoine Watteau became an independent genre in French art, and which was subsequently taken up by Paul Verlaine in his eponymous collection of poetry from 1869.

Debussy’s Fêtes galantes might thus be seen as a fitting motto for Fauré’s and Debussy’s contribution to the French art song. These songs were originally written for the salons of the fin-de-siècle bourgeoisie, where aristocratic social conventions of the ancien régime went hand-in-hand with Baudelaire’s modernist ideas to create a distinctive air of decadence.

Mezzo-soprano Bettina Smith has had a distinguished international career. As a student of both Elly Ameling and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, she has developed a special interest in classical song and chamber music. For LAWO, she and Einar Røttingen have previously recorded contemporary Norwegian songs, ‘Voices of Women’ (LWC1067), and more “mélodies française” by Chausson, Fauré and Saint-Saëns, ‘Serres Chaudes’ (LWC1008).

Pianist Einar Røttingen, Professor of Music Performance at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen, has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, the USA, and Asia.

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