Varda sings CD Charles Gounod
Review from : Le Christianisme
15 June 2001
Page: 9

Reviewer: Professor Edith Weber

Song of Songs
Varda Kotler – an Israeli singer and the pianist Veronique Barraud create a great team.
Their new C.D brings nineteen melodies Londonienne by Charles Gounod (1819 – 1893):
Love and exile songs:, The English texts are based on two bible sources and poems of Sir Philippe Sydney and long fellow, (and I quote the famous only).

Ten out of nineteen melodies are first ever recordings.
Charles Gounod lived in London for four years (1870 – 1874) and was involved in sentimental and financial adventures. Quoting his words: “The biggest mistake of my life”. He composed melodies for his friend mezzo-soprano – Georgina Weldon. The voice of Varda Kotler is shining with light. Her pleasant sound gives its full presence right from the start. The interpretation, which has a momentum, stays discreet as well, with the right accent, expressing the religious, love, melancholic and nostalgic feelings. The performers proved a match and teamwork.

There are three themes:
1. Love in the songs: “My True Love Hath My Heart”, “Maid of Athens”, “Queen of Love”.
2. Nature and Lyric in the songs: “The Fountain”, “Birdie”.
3. Sweet Peaceful: “Sweet Baby”, “Tranquil Night”.
The first melody “My Beloved Spake” it’s very lyric and religious – Charles Gounod added a warm sound of cello (in the C.D is played by Philippe – Barry).
The song “O, Divine Redeemer” is performed as a real prayer. “My true Love” is half way between a classic chorus and a melody from Schubert. “Tranquil Night” - a flying melody sometimes with chromatic movement. “Ilala” - expressive and moving. “Sweet baby” - classic with a modal perfume, played with repeating rhythm - Charles Gounod causes a sleepy mood with the piano accompaniment, reminds of Schubert. Varda Kotler proves well with accurate pronunciation and articulation, even in quick tempo song likes “If Thou Art Sleeping”.
The quality of this C.D is found in its lyrically and simplicity. The performers produced a spiritual sound also in secular songs. They deserve this privilege of revealing the English melodies of Charles Gounod, the composer of “Faust”, “Mireille”, “Sacred Trilogy Redemption”, and “De Te Deum”.

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