Si j'ai aimé
Recent research into the little-known works of Camille Saint-Saëns led to the resurrection of nineteen orchestral songs recorded by Alpha Classics in partnership with the Palazzetto Bru Zane in 2017. For a genre that has become extremely rare today, this marked the opening of a Pandora’s box, gems from which have consistently been brought to light by the Centre de Musique romantique française since then. This investigation has revealed that, in the shadow of Berlioz’s Nuits d’été, Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer and a few titles by Duparc, dozens – if not hundreds – of mélodies sublimely arrayed in sparkling orchestral colours were slumbering on library shelves. Famous names (Hugo, Verlaine and Gautier for the poetry, Gounod, Massenet and Bizet for the music) rub shoulders with artists whose stature is currently being reassessed (Dubois, David, Bordes, La Tombelle among others). Emboldened by these new finds, and with the assiduous support of its editorial team, without whom no project is possible, the Palazzetto Bru Zane has once again suggested to Alpha Classics and its artists a trip along the paths of discovery. Sandrine Piau has ventured with talent and curiosity into a repertory that she had essentially frequented with piano accompaniment, while Julien Chauvin and his Concert de la Loge have revived the original colours of these Romantic pastels with the mellow yet incisive timbres of their period instruments. The programme is constructed like an extended cycle of mélodies on the theme of love, punctuated by orchestral meditations displaying an unexpected gravity in the case of such composers as Benjamin Godard.