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So familiarly obvious are some of the choices here – Debussy’s Charles d’Orléans songs, Hindemith, Milhaud, Poulenc, Saint-Saëns, Ravel – that the inclusion of Jean Absil’s Le bestiaire and Philippe Schoeller’s Cantate Isis, with its unique solo bassoon part, come as a delightful surprise. There are still arguments over what precisely defines chanson as opposed to any other vocal form. The best response is to listen to this and hear how a superbly drilled choir deals with eclectic material that shows only occasional signs of thematic coherence. It’s all beautifully sung, especially the Poulenc, which they seem to approach with special affection. A lovely, endlessly playable set.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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