Varda Kotler sings CD Charles Gounod
Review from : Gerard Conde

Opera International, June 2001
No. 258
Pages: 76-77

Love and exile songs
Reviewer: Gerard Conde
Grade: 4 out of 5

The Anthology of Charles Gounod melodies with text written by English poets, this is an extraordinary matter, which takes us out of routine. The expectation did not let us down. Varda Kotler with a Soprano voice - not big, but charming in a rare and seductive program. In the years 1870-1874 Charles Gounod composed more than sixty melodies in English, French and Italian. Coming back to Paris he continued to write in English and at the same time French melodies with English translation had appeared in London. There are many questions, confusions and double meanings that are not clarified. Even the text written by Jean-Philippe Guye does not give an answer. Unfortunately we do not have the entire collection and we regret not having additional fifteen minutes in this C.D. Part of the first ever-recording songs are performed and sound so well that we are glad for their presence, but we are sorry for a missing trill, A quick tempo on “My Beloved Spake”, rhythmic freedom in “Ilala” and a soft vocal approach in the songs: “Intreat Me”, “Maid Of Athens”. We are far from a voice of “two sex” that Charles Gounod had found in Mrs. Weldon who aroused the inspiration and creation of these songs. We have the opportunity to value the musical talent of the pianist Veronique Barraud - the right sound, the flexible expressive phrases, but could be more leading when necessary. The first ever-recorded songs and other melodies that were never translated to French like: "When In The Early Morn”, “Sweet Baby”, “Queen Of Love” and the melodies we know from the Hyperion Album – all are performed so well, in a convincing way with a singer who likes to sing in refinement way. We could swear she knows Raynaldo Hann: “Aimons Nons” - using the same Rubato and momentum and this is fascinating!

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