Maurice Ravel: Shéhérazade
Hector Berlioz: Les Nuits d’été

Jessye Norman

1979: Philips 412 493-2

    Les Nuits d’été (Op. 7)

    poems by Tréphile Gautier

  1. Villanelle
  2. Le Spectre de la Rose
  3. Sur les Lagunes
  4. Absence
  5. Au Cimitière (Clair de Lune)
  6. l’île Inconnue


    poems by Tristan Klingsor

  7. Asie
  8. La Flûte enchanté
  9. l’Indifférent

I’m not a fan of Jessye Norman (or Jessie Enormous, as a friend of mine persists in referring to her), nor of operatic soprano singing, nor in fact even of the pieces on this album. I have the CD for one reason: this album’s recording of “Le Spectre de la Rose” is a central element in a very moving film short, “R.S.V.P.,” directed by Laurie Lynd, which can be seen on the videotape Boys’ Shorts. Because of this, the track holds special depth for me. I’m less keen on the rest of the album, but it’s nice to dip into from time to time, and thankfully the poems are printed in the CD booklet and translated into both German and English, which helps me appreciate the overall work far more than a simple listening session ever will: there’s some lovely poetry here.