Les Plaisirs du chant Vol.3B
This volume of The Pleasures of Singing, like the previous instalments, is destined for young singers and classes of musical training.
The pieces are presented in a medium-voice tessitura. For pedagogical purposes, most of the selected pieces are written in a rather slow tempo, and are thus more difficult to sing legato and bring to life.
Miniature masterpieces such as Die Lotosblume, Die Verlassene Mägdelein, Romance, Lungi da te, Canciôn de Cuna, require from the interpreter the highest musical sensitivity as well as a keen sense of nuance. They demand the utmost tare from the performer.
For the first three items, let us mention that, until the end of the 18th century, ornaments and variations were not actually noted down in the scores, but were left to the musical imagination of singers (these "embellishments " could vary from concert to concert). This sense of improvisation has somewhat been lost, but students can draw their inspiration from the examples of standard ornaments and variations provided by the two singers in the CD.
For La Rondinella, by Charles Gounod, we have adopted the Italian version, published in London in 1865, rather than the French version L'Ame d'un Ange, on a poem by Th. De Banville.
All pieces in this collection can be sung indifferently by female or male voices (except for Die Verlassene Mägdelein by Wolf which is better suited to a soprano). The Fortunio aria can be sung by all voices for practice, but is more appropriate to a male voice for an examination performance.
Otherwise, music and lyrics, even the Montsalvage lullaby, are suitable for all voices.
For the CD recording, I have requested the collaboration of a soprano and a tenor for the sole purpose of varying vocal colour for the listener.
Both artists have sung with utmost restraint so that young singers should not be induced to strain the voice by trying to emulate the CD.
The recorded piano solo accompaniment will help the student learn the setup of the piece before rehearsing it with the accompanist.
When preparing for the study of a piece, one can refer to the focused and classified exercises featured in the book Le Professeur de chant: un luthier qui construit une voix, published by Van de Velde. Experience has shown that all the pieces in this collection are taken up with pleasure by students and lead to substantial progress.