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Irma Kolassi

Irma Kolassi the Decca Recitals (4CD)

Newly remastered and compiled for the first time, the complete Decca recital albums of Irma Kolassi are now available on this 4CD set from Eloquence. Born in Greece but raised in Paris, she began her career as a pianist until her ‘richly regal’ (The Times) mezzo-soprano was discovered. As a vocal coach in Athens, she worked with Maria Callas before relaunching her career as a recitalist back in Paris.

Decca issued ten separate releases, all recorded between June 1952 and October 1956. The range of repertoire – covering not only the usual "Arie antiche" and folk songs but the refined challenges of Fauré and Debussy, rarities and new songs by Milhaud, Joaquin Nin and Louis Aubert – reflects an intelligence recognised by John Steane in his Gramophone review (July 2003) of a previous reissue: "an exceptionally sound musician among singers … above all, she was an excellent sight-reader who happened also to have a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice."

CD 1
2 Spanish Folk Songs (arr. Koeckert)
8 Cantos populares españoles
8 Greek Folk Songs
MAURICE RAVEL: Cinq Mélodies populaires grecques (rec. 1952)
DANIEL AUBERT: Six poèmes arabe (excerpts)
DARIUS MILHAUD: Poèmes juifs

CD 2
Arie Antiche (1953 recording)
La chanson d’Eve, Op. 95
3 Mélodies

CD 3
Arie Antiche (1955 recording)
Le Promenoir des deux amants
Fêtes galantes I (excerpts)
Trois chansons de Bilitis

Two Greek Folk Songs
Cinq Mélodies populaires grecques (1955 recording)
Chansons madécasses

CD 4
ERNEST CHAUSSON: Poème de l’amour et de la mer
JULES MASSENET: Werther! Werther … qui m’aurait dit la place (Werther)
HECTOR BERLIOZ: ‘D’amour l’ardente flamme’ (La Damnation de Faust)

Irma Kolassi, mezzo-soprano
Jacqueline Bonneau, piano
André Collard, piano
Louis de Froment
Anatole Fistoulari