Philippe Jaroussky manages the exquisite shift from Handel to Hahn.

Mélodies Françaises on Poems of Paul Verlaine

Philippe Jaroussky ct, Jerome Ducros p, Quator Ébène
ERATO 0825646166930

Why shouldn’t a countertenor have the necessary sensitivity and vocal technique to perform French mélodies? That’s the challenging question that Philippe Jaroussky poses in the liner notes of his latest album on Warner’s Erato label.

Firmly established as a darling of the Baroque, Jaroussky forsakes Vivaldi for Verlaine with his latest project. He makes his case for the move to art song most eloquently in this exquisite and charming double-disc set which runs to 43 tracks covering a plethora of styles, dovetailing the familiar works of Fauré, Debussy and Chausson with those of lesser-known composers.

“Jaroussky makes his case for the move to art song most eloquently”

Jaroussky did something similar on his 2009 release Opium, but Greenis far more ambitious. For this all-French affair his recital partner pianist Jérôme Ducros and the excellent Quatuor Ébène – one of the most exciting of the current crop of young European string quartets, join him. They are superb across a wide range...