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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Massenet With The Late Sally Silver Is Perfect Fare For A Summer's Night 

By Norman Lebrecht on August 2, 2019

Jules Massenet: La vie d’une rose (Somm Recordings)

★★★★☆
🎧 Apple Music Amazon

Sally Silver — also known as ‘Silver Sally’ — died last November of cancer at 50 years old, casting a pall over the British opera scene, where she was a vibrant and ever-willing participant. Never a showy diva, Sally landed roles in any opera from Handel to Thomas Adès, pursuing a particular love for French chanson. This posthumous album — curated by Sally, accompanied by her friend Richard Bonynge and produced by her husband Jeremy Silver — is a delight from start to finish.

It’s not just the sparkle she brings to Massenet’s somewhat timeworn drawing-room songs — though that alone is worth the price of admission — it’s the slightly-knowing false-innocence that she injects into numbers like Passionément and Souhait. Sally sings like someone who knows the meaning of life and the value of each moment. The mezzo Christine Tocci, who joins in several duets, gives as good as she gets. Why go to see a Massenet opera when the small stuff is so good, and so concise?

This must be Richard Bonynge’s first recording of the decade. He’s still a decent pianist, in case you’re wondering, a little prone to heavy elbows in the triple fffs but, unlike many condcutors, knowing when to sit back and do as little as possible. This is perfect fare for a summer’s night.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, follow him on Slippedisc.com.

LUDWIG VAN TORONTO

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Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
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Ludwig Van Toronto

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Víkingur Ólafsson Is Putting Iceland On The Classical Music Map

By Norman Lebrecht on March 13, 2020

Víkingur Ólafsson has taken a pair of French composers two centuries apart and effectively melded their music into one by the simple method of interleaving short pieces across a whole album.
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LEBRECHT LISTENS | What Can You Do With 3 Sopranos And 2 Altos? Be inventive, That’s What

By Norman Lebrecht on March 27, 2020

The all-women quintet Papagena have come up with a range of unaccompanied songs, settings and original commissions that often takes the breath away.
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LEBRECHT LISTENS | A Composer For Hard Times And Isolation

By Norman Lebrecht on April 3, 2020

In isolation, Viktor Ullmann dug deep and found wit and humour, his music persuasively interpreted in this Berlin Classics recording.
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