On their new album ‘Sourdine’, Laurent Naouri and Frédéric Loiseau perform a collection of classical songs in a « chanson » style, bringing an intimacy to this repertoire that is closer to a whisper in the listener’s ear…
You may recognise the charismatic baritone Laurent Naouri from his acclaimed portrayal of the four villains in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, which he performed in Paris and New York, or from his unforgettable Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande. But here we are introduced to a more intimate Naouri, the lover of mélodies by Fauré, Debussy and Poulenc, who invites us to a rendez-vous with jazz guitarist Frédéric Loiseau.
Naouri writes: ‘Here is a repertory I’ve been performing for more than thirty years, sometimes not without a certain frustration: for how can you achieve the intimacy suggested by a poem like Baudelaire’s Le Jet d’eau – it's almost pillow talk – when the vocal style forces you to “project” the voice? Although classical art song directs you to sing piano or pianissimo, it’s still inconceivable to whisper in the listener’s ear. To whisper, you need a microphone, and there we leave the world of the mélodie and enter the world of “chanson”, as that term was understood at the beginning of the radio era. I had already been thinking about these questions for a few years when I met the jazz guitarist Frédéric Loiseau. We started off our collaboration with Les Berceaux, a mélodie that Yves Montand had already sung in a “chanson” style. Encouraged by the result, we looked for other songs that we felt could benefit from this intimate treatment.’