A Banquet of Song From the Belle Epoque Years

by Stephen Brookes
Washington Post
Tuesday, March 14, 2006; C05

… Steven Blier, the erudite but unstuffy director of the New York Festival of Song … [brought] to the Terrace Theater an inspired recital of art song from belle epoque France.

… Taking a cue from Roger Shattuck's classic book "The Banquet Years," Blier pulled together nearly two dozen works, including barely-there miniatures by Eric Satie, a few of Maurice Ravel's more recherche broodings, and a trio of funny, gutsy cabaret songs from Marcel Bloch and Leon Xanrof … Camille Saint-Saens's "Si vous n'avez rien a me dire" is one of the more darkly moving love songs to ever arise from the mind of man, an unforgettable work that grips the heart and refuses to let go.

Mezzo-soprano Marie Lenormand and baritone Hugh Russell (with Blier at the piano) … smart, nuanced interpretations and engaging onstage confidence. Kudos to Washington's Vocal Arts Society for this latest in a long series of superb and always intriguing concerts.

Program

The Banquet Years

Emmanuel Chabrier 1841-1894
L’île Heureuse

Camille Saint-Säens 1835-1921
Si vous n’avez rien à me dire
Georges Auric 1899-1983
Portrait d’Henri Rousseau

Chabrier
Villanelle des petits canards
Les cigales

Francis Poulenc 1899-1963
Le bestiaire

Henri Koechlin 1867-1950
Si tu le veux
Reynaldo Hahn 1874-1947
La barcheta

Igor Stravinsky 1882-1971
Pastorale
Manuel de Falla 1876-1946
Séguidille
Chabrier
España

Intermission

Erik Satie 1866-1925
Sports et Divertissements
1. La Balançoire
2. La Chasse
3. Le Réveil de la Mariée
4. Colin-Maillard
5. La Pêche
6. Le Yachting
7. Le Bain de Mer
8. Le Golf
9. La Pieuvre
10. Les Courses
11. Le Pique-nique
12. Le Water-chute
13. Le Tango
14. Le Flirt
15. Le Tennis

Maurice Ravel 1873-1937
Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé
1. Soupir
2. Placet futile
3. Surgi de la croupe et du bond

Marcel Bloch/Louis Maubon/Jean Lenoir
Tu m’as possédée par surprise
Vincent Scotto
Celle que j’aime est parmi vous
Léon Xanrof
Le fiacre

André Messager
Duetto de l’âne from Véronique