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International Record Review
'...it’s a fascinating insight into an important educational workshop, and assured performances from Freeman-Attwood and Howat also make it a musical experience in its own right. The recorded sound is in the usual Linn top-drawer league.'
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BBC Music Magazine
4 Stars
'...they embody the deceptively easygoing lyricism of Fauré's songs, making this an unexpected treasure trove of his melodic invention.'
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Gramophone
'Freeman-Attwood has a warm timbre and he phrases the often simple melodic lines appealingly, catching their stylistic differences admirably...The result is a most attractive anthology, naturally balanced and recorded.'
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MusicWeb International
'An interesting and well executed première performance.'
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Buffalo News
'They take surprise twists and turns, which makes sense considering they were supposed to put students through their paces. They are pleasant, graceful and individual...'
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Sinfini Music
4 Stars
'Rightly describing the pieces as 'exquisite', [Jonathan Freeman-Attwood] brings them to life with an assured lyrical panache that left this listener lamenting the fact that Fauré never wrote a substantial solo work for trumpet during his lifetime.'
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The Times
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'fascinating'
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AllMusic
'Jonathan Freeman-Attwood's quiet, direct approach on the trumpet is just right. Recommended for Fauré lovers.'
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Jonathan Freeman-Attwood - Faure - Fanfare


06 January 2015
Fanfare
Adrian Corleonis

In Jean-Michel Nectoux's Gabriel Fauré: a musical life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), two paragraphs are given to the Vocalise-Étude, composed for Conservatoire sight-singing examinations in 1906, occasionally resurrected as filler in instrumental programs and beloved of all fauréennes. "The fact that the piece, for voice without words and a piano, is of primarily pedagogical intent has led to its neglect-which is a pity, as its calm, transparent logic makes it one of Fauré's finest compositions....This unusual piece is, moreover, only a tiny part of a fairly substantial collection of sight-reading pieces for voice and piano which Fauré provided, almost throughout his period as director, for the Conservatoire singing classes. The rest have remained unpublished." No longer. Musicologists Roy Howat and Emily Kirkpatrick edited those forgotten manuscripts for publication in 2013 as part of the Peters Critical Edition of Fauré's complete songs. Given their purpose, most are very brief, playing less than a minute. At 2:23, No. 28 is the longest, though their piquancy, impact, and magic belie their minuscule dimensions. Evident in every one is Fauré's flair for arresting melody, which leaves one with the major disappointment that such rich material was tossed off without development. Composed between 1906 and 1916, they are contemporary with La Chanson d'Ève (1906/10) and the opera Pénélope (1913) - that is, Fauré's most hermetic utterance and his most engagingly public scintillations, from both of which these flicker brightly throughout. For this first recording, titled Lydia's Vocalises, Howat has gathered the vocalises, out of sequence, into six albums - La Beauté, L'Envie, La Cour, La Tendresse, Les Regrets, Les Souvenirs - framed by an initial account of Lydia in F, to conclude with another reading in G. While the program is unnecessary, it adds a soupçon of elegance, undercut somewhat by the composer's birth date given as 1854-Fauré was, of course, born in 1845.

As the booklet notes, the remainder of the program, or bonus tracks-Chabrier, Saint-Saëns, Rameau, et al. - are drawn from other Linn releases featuring Freeman-Attwood accompanied by Daniel-Ben Pienaar. And there's the rub. The trumpeter is never less than adept, Howat and Pienaar are hand-in-glove, while the disc is a relentless exposition of high artistry. A trumpet, however, is not the first instrument one might have chosen for this fare, if only because its strident timbre proves wearing well before the vocalises have been run through. Even in the recording's open spaciousness, the trumpet is overbearing. Nonetheless, one is grateful that these revelatory riches are at last within hearing. It remains for vocalists to take them on. Meanwhile, no genuine Fauré maven will want to be without this album.


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Daniel-Ben PienaarDaniel-Ben Pienaar
Jonathan Freeman-AttwoodJonathan Freeman-Attwood
Roy HowatRoy Howat
Faure: Lydia’s VocalisesFaure: Lydia’s Vocalises