Tu me voyais is a new CD from soprano Christina Raphaëlle Haldane and pianist Carl Philippe Gionet. It contains Gionet’s arrangements of Twelve Acadian Folk Songs plus a piece by Adam Sherkin setting poetry by Gionet and two pieces by Jérome Blais setting texts by Léonard Forest and Herménégilde Chiasson.
The twelve folk songs are all Acadien but unsurprisingly some of have roots further back in France. There are songs from Poitou and Gascony (so they are really English….) and so on. They are typically strophic songs with refrains and get a respectful treatment in the style of French chansons though this doesn’t mean the piano part is straightforward!. I like the simplicity of this approach because many of these songs are just gorgeous and Christina sings them with beauty and humour and, in some places, considerable agility coupled to a command of standard international French, Acadien and Poitevin. She really has a lovely rich yet flexible instrument. Gionet is a very sympathetic and accomplished accompanist too.
The Sherkin piece sets an excerpt from Gionet’s Icare which, mythologically inspired, here describes a romantic encounter in the snow on the streets of Montreal. The minimalist, sometimes almost Spanish sounding, music captures both the playfulness and the elusive/allusive nature of the encounter. The Blais pieces are excerpted from the multimedia show Mouvance, which he developed with soprano Suzie LeBlanc. They are elusive and ambiguous; playing with ideas and the meaning of words set to complex music (there’s gamelan influence here) which has a an accessibility and charm which belies its underlying complexity.
The recording was made in Église catholique Saint-Simon, Saint-Simon (N.-B) in June 2022 and it’s well engineered. Everything is clear despite a somewhat resonant acoustic. It’s available as a standard resolution physical CD, as MP3 and in both standard and hi-res FLAC formats as well as on the usual streaming services. (FWIW I listened to the high res version) Physical and digital versions both come with a bilingual English/French booklet which contains full texts and lots of useful information.
This really is a lovely CD.
Catalogue information: Leaf Music LM257