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Ermend Bonnal (1880-1944) was a pupil of Fauré and the singer is his great granddaughter. Oddly, she only gives one of his songs here, Chêne Gaulois, in a transcription for voice and string trio by David Maw. Martel has a richly dramatic sound, somewhat tremulous, which suits that song and Gounod’s L’Absent but is less effective in Chausson, Bachelet and Massenet, where her timbre is too heavy for my taste. Bonnal’s little piece for violin and piano, Sur le lac triste, and Bosphore, for cello and piano, are elegant miniatures, performed with affection. The instrumental and song selections, from Berlioz to Bonnal in age, feel less than cohesive as a collection. However, by moving away from the usual voice and piano format to include strings, they do achieve welcome variety.

Simon Mundy Read the full review on Agora Classica

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