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LES FLEURS DU MAL EN MUSIQUE
Les Fleurs du Mal en musique
by Rossella Marcantoni and Marco Sollini
Léo Ferré’s “classical” vocation is revealed by the short piece Andante pour piano,
which opens this collection. One page of only 15 bars composed pour l’accompagnement
“du Testament”, as says the original score dated at April 1957, a small but
intense composition with a Ravelian touch, conceived as main theme of a Concert de
piano, unfortunately never composed. The great chansonnier Léo Ferré, who was born
Monaco and then set up home in France, but highly attached to Italy, where he stayed
until his death, showed himself a in many occasions a very refined composer, whose
music perfectly suits the classical and yet modern reinterpretation for soprano voice
and piano, highly polished and very demanding, composed by Luciano Bellini.
One can’t help being fascinated by the mellow and deep melodies, hypnotic and so
seductive, written on texts by Charles Baudelaire from Les Fleurs du Mal.
So this collection is meant as a journey into emotion, starting from the passionately
poetic La Mort des amants followed by Tu mettrais l’univers, that begins with a recitativo
giving rise to a dreamy, moving melody. While Harmonies du soir starts as an
easygoing waltz gradually winding down like a carillon, Recueillement offers an eldritch
dialogue between soprano and piano, underlined by suggestive arabesques of semiquavers.
La Musique, volatile and swift, animated by wild enthusiasm, is sung in the
highest realms of the soprano voice, supported by a fluid backing of arpeggios.
Spleen plunges us into the most dramatic and moving depths of the soul, supported
by a semi-symphonic texture. On the contrary La Pipe, with its rapid pace, sounds
mocking and sarcastic. Highly theatrical, with its spoken lines, is La servante au grand
coeur, where the voice draws a hopeless melodic course, while the piano pours impressively
from the deep. We arrive then to La Beauté, with its limpid and fast cascades
of semiquavers, whose tune flies higher and higher, almost aspiring to an ideal heaven.
Come then Ciel brouillé, with its elegant harmonies, and Le Revenant, a moderato
waltz with a French touch, where the piano ostinato backing the singing voice recalls
the sound of a button accordion. Ferré’s interior journey continues with La vie antérieure
and the sentimental À une passante - both featuring his most inspired melodic vein
- then unfolds on L’invitation au voyage, an exquisite waltz with a Parisian taste. The
itinerary into the soul’s deepest feelings is concluded by L’examen de minuit and Dorothée,
two chansons flowing one into another; their Bach-like piano writing and the
static nature of their melodies make them sound like “classical” pieces.
All these compositions widely prove how much more Ferré could have given to great
music, had he gone further into exploring classical musical forms.
Rossella Marcantoni & Léo Ferré
by Mauro Macario
In time, Léo Ferré’s music has been revisited and arranged in various musical ways,
often far away from, or apparently incompatible with, the original source, showing however
the Master’s open minded activity.
The soprano Rossella Marcantoni, in her modernity, preferred elevating herself rather
than metamorphosing. She brought to the extreme all the classical, cultured and even
religious aspects of Ferré’s music, transferring his melodies to the highest territories of
the operatic voice, giving them a crystalline purity. She has exalted his tension towards
absolute, enlivening every existential requirement of the poet and composer.
Rossella Marcantoni, by her own accord, has been able to move away, now and then,
from a strict orthodox vocal discipline in order to explore new expressive ways, from
vocal chamber music to contemporary music, so testing unheard musical forms.
This singer seems to have found a vocal balance between her inner and her operatic
voice, offering a personal, more realistic way of singing, approachable even to audiences
unfamiliar with opera.
Just like Ferré used to say, speaking about his creations, “Je suis dicté”, the same way
Marcantoni could afford to say “Je suis chantée”.
Rossella Marcantoni & Marco Sollini
The twenty-year artistic collaboration between the soprano Rossella Marcantoni and
the pianist Marco Sollini brought these two artists to interpret Italian chamber music by
authors like Tosti, Respighi, Zandonai, as well as the sophisticated mélodies of French
composers such as Fauré, Debussy, Satie, Poulenc, up to the chansons and Sacred
Hymns by Léo Ferré, premiered at the “Gaude Mater” Festival of Sacred Music in Czestochowa,
Poland. These two artists created and produced several performances of
“poetry in music” in important Festivals and music shows, along with great actors such
as Ugo Pagliai and Paola Gassman.
Rossella Marcantoni, winner of important Italian and international opera contests,
also boasts a full experience within the operatic world, as she sang in renowned opera
houses as the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the Teatro Petruzzelli
in Bari, the National Theatre in Spalato and at important festivals as Ravenna
Festival, Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Festival della Valle d’Itria in Martina Franca
and many others. She also performed under conductors as Muti, Gelmetti, Kuhn, Panni,
Aprea, Zani, Villaume, Scheiko, Mak and stage directors as Vizioli, Zeffirelli, Pizzi,
De Tomasi, Hampe and Richter. Rossella Marcantoni is founder, president and artistic
director of the “Maria Malibran” International Music Academy situated in Altidona. Besides,
she teaches voice at the Conservatory “Bruno Maderna” in Cesena.
Marco Sollini boasts a long time solo and chamber music experience, that brought
him to perform all over Europe, USA, Indonesia, and together with orchestras like I
Solisti Veneti, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, the Sinfonica Dohnányi and the MAV
in Budapest, the Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra, the Stuttgart Philharmonic
Orchestra, the Slovenian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Ippolitov-Ivanov Orchestra
in Moscow, the Serbian Radio Television Symphony Orchestra, etc. Marco Sollini also
recorded over 30 CDs with important labels as Chandos, CPO, Arts, Concerto-Music
Media. He founded and is artistic director of the chamber music Festival “armonie della
sera”, that brings classical music to the most evocative places of Marche, and he also
teaches piano at the ISSM - AFAM “O. Vecchi – A. Tonelli” in Modena.