Songs of the Auvergne

Jill Gomez
Songs of the Auvergne 
Arranged by Joseph Cantaloube


1. Trois Bourrées, (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 1, No. 3): L'aïo dè rotso
2. Trois Bourrées, (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 1, No. 3): Ound' onorèn g
3. Trois Bourrées, (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 1, No. 3): Obal, din lou
4. Jou l'Pount D'o Mirabel (Au pont de Mirabel), (Chants d'Auvergne, Ser
5. Chut, Chut, (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 4, No. 4)
6. Lou Boussu (Le bossu), (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 3, No. 3)
7. Postouro, sé tu m'aymo (Bergère, si tu m'aimes), (Chants d'Auvergne,
8. La Delaissado (La délaissée), (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 2, No. 4)
9. L' Antouèno (L'Antoine), (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 2, No. 2)
10. Baïlèro, (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 1, No. 2)
11. Passo pel prat (Viens par le pré), (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 3, No.
12. Lo Fiolairé (La fileuse), (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 3, No. 1)
13. Brezairola (Berceuse), (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 3, No. 4)
14. Pastourelle (E passo dé dossaï; Ah! viens près de moi), (Chants d'Auv
15. Lou Coucut (Le coucou), (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 4, No. 6)
16. Tè, l'Co, Tè! (Va l'chien, va!), (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 5, No. 6)
17. Malurous qu'o uno fenno, (Chants d'Auvergne, Series 3, No. 5)


Jill Gomez (soprano),
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,
Vernon Handley (conductor)
When the distinctive beauty of Jill Gomez 's voice comes over so well on record, I am surprised that the companies have not recorded her more. One remembers that it took them a surprisingly long time to wake up to the voluptuous qualities of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa's voice, and it is to Dame Kiri that one turns most readily for a direct comparison in Canteloube's Chants d'Auvergne. But where Dame Kiri with sumptuous accompaniment from the ECO under Jeffrey Tate on her two Decca records (SXDL7604, 3/83 and 411 730-I13H, 11/84) presents Canteloube's five books of folk-settings in sequence as published, Gomez arranges her 15 songs (roughly half the total) in a well-balanced grouping covering all five books.

With the recording beautifully capturing the bloom on Gomez's voice and fresh, sympathetic accompaniment from Vernon Handley and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, it makes a collection in its way just as delightful as Dame Kin's. Broadly, the Gomez/Handley collaboration brings performances clearer and more direct, less concerned to squeeze out the sensuous qualities of these outrageously opulent but lusciously enjoyable arrangements. So the most famous song, Bailèro, is more simply done than with Dame Kin but still warmly expressive with a ravishingly beautiful final stanza. With Jill Gomez I am reminded more readily that this was the tune that Walton borrowed for the music accompanying Burgundy's speech at the end of his Henry V film music. Some may still feel (as with Dame Kin) that a more earthy approach is better, but I like the way that Handley brings out in the crisp rhythms of the woodwind writing the echoes of folk-bands or medieval music, and that goes with delectable pointing by Gomez in the quick or witty songs with their sharp pay-offs. They are generally faster and lighter than with Dame Kin, and I am not surprised to learn that Gomez has been specifically instructed on Auvergne pronunciation by Paulette Hutchinson, born in the Clermont-Ferrand region.

But I confess that my favourite in this collection—a near thing when there are so many sweet meats—is the song in which Jill Gomez and Vernon Handley draw out a sensuousness even more luxuriant than on Dame Kin's record, la delaIssádo, the forsaken girl. That was the equivalent in Book 2 of what Bai'lêro had been in Book I, and for once it is more than just a less effective sequel. With outstanding sound the LP makes a specially welcome issue at mid-price. Notes and full text are included. E.G.


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