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Ernest Chausson is a most unusual figure in French music, positioned at the crossroads where the romanticism of Berlioz and Franck meet the language of Wagner and the symbolism of the young Debussy. His Poème de l’amour et de la mer is a unique score for the period and certainly his greatest work; simultaneously a profane, naturistic cantata, a monologue, and a song cycle, it was composed between 1882 and 1892.


Véronique Gens is recording this cycle for the first time, although she has already issued ‘Le temps des lilas’ with Susan Manoff at the piano for her disc Néère (ALPHA 215), about which Ernst Van Bek wrote in Classiquenews: « it mesmerises with the nuancing of its colours, the allusive precision of every sung word ». Véronique Gens’ talent is equally on display in this recording too, with the Orchestre National de Lille – an orchestra she already knows well – under Alexandre Bloch, its new chief conductor, whose appointment and first concerts and recordings have already caused a sensation…  The Symphony in B flat major completes this programme: a summit of French symphonic writing, for some a milestone as important as the Symphony in D of Chausson’s teacher César Franck!

ffff Télérama award Le choix de France Musique award

"With a finely nuanced and well-articulated singing, Véronique Gens is outstanding in Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer."
"At just over an hour in length, this combination of two of Chausson’s finest scores in wholly idiomatic performances is one to savour again and again, the musicians expertly served by the Alpha team, and it makes an ideal starting point from which to start (or resume) exploring the music of this fascinating French master. Gens’ contribution also makes it one of the undoubted vocal highlights of 2019 so far"
"The effortlessly elegant Véronique Gens shows why she is one of the great singers of our time on this transcendent work."
The Guardian
"Gens’s crystalline sound and immaculate diction are a bonus in these sumptuous settings of poems by Maurice Bouchor"
The Sunday Times
"The Lille players and Bloch make a fluent, idiomatic case. The presence of Gens in the gorgeous Poème is the real draw here."
The Observer
"The playing is rich, both in sound and detail, the brass warm and burnished, the woodwind elegant and refined, while the recording, like that of Poème, is both spacious and exactingly balanced. It’s an outstanding disc, and highly recommended."