DANAË VLASSE: POÈMESongs of Life, Love and Loss
Danaë Xanthe Vlasse
HILA PLITMANN, soprano
SANGEETA KAUR, soprano
ROBERT THIES, piano
DANAË VLASSE, piano
JOHN WALZ, cello
Awarded GOLD by the Global Music Awards
"An hour’s worth of beauty would be a good way to sum up this disc... The first two songs show Plitmann’s superb control as well as her resonance with this soft-grained, beautiful music. Robert Thies is a superbly sensitive pianist: listen to his way with the high line that sails above the voice in the second song... La mer is an extended song that also offers opportunities to relish the piano playing of Robert Thies, whose contributions positively shine whether in solo or in allowing the harmonies to glow. There are some near-virtuoso outbursts, too, which it is clear Thies enjoys... [Serenade de Verlaine] features an absolutely spellbinding use of two voices, overlapping and interacting. Cellist John Walz makes a fine contribution to the song...
This is a lovely disc, filled with beauty; Vlasse’s music is honored by a procession of fine performances."
Colin Clarke, Fanfare [January/February 2022]
"I have to admit that on first listen I thought Poème to be serious and somber, but then the fervent poetry of the music eventually seeped into my mind and the beauty of it all shined through. The music is deeply romantic like an old world vignette, but with glorious sound. Largely classical with vocals sung in French, this nine track album is a refreshing break from the modern day cacophony of everyday life... There is poetry backed by music. That is quite common. And then there is music that has poetry deftly cached within. Poème, the classically styled music of Danaë Vlasse is highly emotional given the context of the subject. It is stark, black and white illustrations in an all too colorful world. But there is no lack of color when it comes to passion. Highly listenable... La quantité d'émotion sur cet enregistrement est incommensurable.
R J Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews [January 2021]* * *
Winner of GOLD MEDAL from the GLOBAL MUSIC AWARDS
FIVE WINS from the 2020 INDIE MUSIC CHANNEL AWARDS
Best Classical Artist
Best Classical Recording
Best Classical Songwriter
Best Classical Music Video
Video of the Year
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FANTAISIE NO.2 Music Video
REVERIE Music Video
"This album is not standard by any means. It contains romantic art songs composed using French poetry so as to achieve moods that 'express the full range of life' and the texts are gorgeous and sumptuous... ['Reverie La Lune’ is] an exquisite display of Vlasse’s ability to use the affect of this narrow piece of the artistic past and bring it into the light of present day. Chopinesque solo piano works also make an appearance here. These works may feel familiar but also haunting in new and beautiful ways. The next time you’re looking for deep romance, try these pieces."
American Record Guide [November/December 2020]
"The simplicity – but depth – of the underlying emotion [in Hugo's Demain, dès l’Aube] calls out Vlasse’s best setting on this CD. The performance of this song, and of all the others, is very fine, with Hila Plitmann, a strong advocate of contemporary vocal music, lending her interpretative skill as well as her vocal flexibility to all the material. All the piano accompaniments by Robert Thies are handled sensitively and with understanding. In two songs, Un Lendemain and Sérénade de Verlaine, Plitmann is joined by a second soprano, Sangeeta Kaur, whose voice complements Plitmann’s well; in the latter of the two-soprano songs, there is also a telling part for cellist John Walz, who underlines and emphasizes a key moment of the music."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [September 2020]
"When I encountered the Poème CD, a selection of the work of composer Danaë Vlasse on MSR Classics, I found myself virtually transported back to the 19th century world of Franz Liszt in a contemporary context, as others have. But, taking a step back, I found within myself a kinship to Vlasse’s world, because neither of us, me in writing or her in music, has turned away from romance, desire and passion, gained, lost or found again, as an undying aspect of the human spirit and our participation in life.
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [August 2020]
"Encountering and quickly embracing Poème: Songs of Life, Love and Loss, the sweeping and majestic piano and vocal classical compendium by pianist composer Danaë Vlasse and others, is like spending a full evening with someone and getting to know their deeper nuances long after the brief glance that first caught your attention... We all need our angels at this time, and Vlasse’s recording offers numerous musical opportunities to find them."
Jonathan Widran, JWVibe [July 2020]
"the album leans into something akin to a multi-sensory experience… intellect, emotion, poetry, visual story-telling, painting with sounds… if you choose, all are engaged by this melting pot that Vlasse has put together... [The] differences between the tracks all keep keep things fresh and moving... the execution of the tracks is carried out at an exceptionally high level... one can just listen to this near-hour long collection, accepting it on face value – close one’s eyes and be transported. But go deeper, and there’s the care and the inspirations (and the media) behind the pieces to enjoy, and they may augment your experience further… That was certainly the case for me."
Stereo Strickman [July 2020]
"Stunningly complex and soaringly beautiful. Danaë Vlasse is a bonafide, authentic composer in the truest sense of the word. And though the translations provide further insight, you don’t need to speak French in the slightest to fully appreciate the undeniable musical talent, exquisite and note-perfect vocals, and jaw-droppingly gorgeous compositions found on Poème. For classical music fans of the modern age, this album is a must-listen."
The Ark of Music [July 2020]
"[Danaë Vlasse] has a unique artistic profile as composer, pianist and poetess... Vlasse’s poetic imagery can be extremely complex, involving her prowess as both pianist and composer. Her assured piano technique is complimented by Hila Plitmann’s vocal artistry, always right on the money as she manages long, complex musical phrases and really stunning cadences with flawless beauty and impressive breath control. One wishes to hear more of this vocal artist in the future."
Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Club [July 2020]
PROGRAM NOTESPoème is a collection of nine original compositions inspired by poetry, presented by composer-pianist Danaë Xanthe Vlasse and the distinguished artists she has gathered for this album. Seven romantic art songs based on French poetry are brought to life by award-winning soprano Hila Plitmann and acclaimed pianist Robert Thies. The songs also feature the talents of visionary soprano Sangeeta Kaur and cellist John Walz. The composer herself contributes performances of two works for solo piano. Vlasse’s songs, which set texts written during the 19th century as well as contemporaneously, are driven by the grandiose ideals that define Romantic culture: admiration for nature, celebration of history, devotion to family and the alternating torture and bliss of love for another person. The moods of Poème express the full range of life, from feelings of melancholy, to anger, seduction and joyous abandon.
Award-winning composer, pianist, lyricist and producer Danaë Xanthe Vlasse has contributed much to the world of music, from the concert hall to broadcasts on international radio. As a pianist, she has released several albums of solo works as well as recordings of duets with violinist Mischa Lefkowitz of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Performers are drawn to her reverence for their instruments, while audiences applaud her ability to connect to them with emotional immediacy. Her music has been praised in the music press as being “radiant, memorable and magnificent.”
[ www.danaevlasse.com ] [ musicvisionstudios.com ]
Singer, songwriter and actress Hila Plitmann is recognized internationally for a stunning stage presence and superior expressiveness in performing new music across a wide range of genres. A Grammy award winning artist, she has performed as a guest soloist with the many of the world’s leading conductors and major orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra. [ www.hilaplitmann.com ]
Pianist Robert Thies maintains a diverse career as an orchestral soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and recording artist. Thies, who in 1995 won the Gold Medal at the Second International Prokofiev Competition in St. Petersburg, has performed more than 40 concertos with symphony orchestras all over the world, including the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia and the Mexico City Philharmonic. He has been described as a pianist of “unerring, warmtoned refinement, with judicious glimmers of power.” [ www.robertthies.org ]
Sangeeta Kaur (Teresa Mai) is a Vietnamese-American soprano, mantra singer, songwriter and producer who performs internationally, and is known as a renaissance woman whose work transcends genre. Kaur’s concert tours have taken her to numerous prestigious venues, including the Sydney Opera House and the Mt. Wilson Observatory in Southern California. Kaur, dedicated to the expression of spirit in music, is the founder of Empower With Art Productions, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating transformative musical events that can have a positive impact on the world. [ www.sangeetakaurmusic.com ]
John Walz is a celebrated cellist admired for his dazzling virtuosity and elegant musicianship. A student of the legendary cellist Pierre Fournier, Walz has appeared as soloist with more than 300 symphony orchestras on four continents. His ever expanding discography includes recordings of concertos by Bloch, Dvorák, Haydn, Martinú, Shostakovich and Vivaldi, and trios by Brahms, Dvorák, Smetana, and others. In addition to his solo and chamber music performances, he is the principal cellist of the Los Angeles Opera orchestra, and is on the faculty of the Idyllwild Arts Academy.
[ www.john-walz.com ]
Demain, dès l’Aube
Piano Nocturne No.4 “Pour Nelson”
Piano Fantaisie No.2 “Schwanengesang”
Rêverie “La Lune”
Sérénade de Verlaine