The Artist’s Secret

Bettina Smith, Jan Willem Nelleke

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Original Recording Format: DXD
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Mezzo-soprano Bettina Smith and pianist Jan Willem Nelleke invite us into a somewhat forgotten and seldom performed repertoire with their album, “The Artist’s Secret.” The album contains works for voice and piano, written by female composers.

The title of the album is taken from Dutch composer Henriëtte Bosmans’ work “The Artist’s Secret,” with text by Olive Schreiner (1855-1920). Here the artist’s secret is that he paints his works with his own blood. This recording is the result of the performers’ intensive work throughout an entire year, mapping out the repertoire of these female composers within the art song genre, and the choice of title reflects the performers’ feeling of having gained insight into these well-kept, “secret” songs.

The composers on this album – Anna Cramer, Henriëtte Bosmans, Borghild Holmsen, Cécile Chaminade, Marguerite Canal, Poldowski, Lili Boulanger, Rebecca Clarke, and Luise Greger – were all renowned and enjoyed fame in their time, either as performers, composers, or conductors. Despite this, most have been forgotten after their deaths. There is a desire to bring these composers back into the spotlight, into the concert halls, and to make this repertoire a natural programming choice, on par with music composed by their male counterparts.

The Artist’s Secret is exclusively available in Stereo DSD 512, DSD 256, DSD 128, DSD 64 and DXD from NativeDSD Music.

Bettina Smith – Mezzo-Soprano
Jan Willem Nelleke – Pianist

Tracklist

1.
The Artist’s Secret
08:28
2.
Der Frühling lockt
01:33
3.
Über die Heide
01:26
4.
Schliesse mir die Augen beide
03:14
5.
Quatre chants: Dans l’immense tristesse
05:05
6.
Quatre chants: Attente
02:34
7.
Quatre chants: Reflets
02:49
8.
Quatre chants: Le retour
04:14
9.
Infant Joy
01:17
10.
June Twilight
02:32
11.
Eight O’Clock
02:00
12.
Viens mon bien&aimé!
01:52
13.
Zwei Notturnos: Im Pavillon
04:10
14.
Zwei Notturnos: Am Meer
04:58
15.
I de forunderlige blonde nætter & Op. 14 No. 1
02:08
16.
Der staar en sorg & Op. 14 No. 3
01:26
17.
Flieder & Op. 2 No. 2
02:31
18.
Weisst du noch? & Op. 2 No. 5
01:58
19.
Waldhornklänge & Op. 4 No. 6
02:22
20.
Ici&bas tous les lilas meurent
02:44
21.
Spleen
02:43
22.
Sérénade
02:38
23.
En sourdine
02:50
24.
Sur l’herbe
02:02
25.
La chanson du chiffonier
03:50

Total time: 01:13:24

Additional information

Label

SKU

LWC1210

Qualities

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Artists

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Composers

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Funding

This recording has been made possible with support of the University of Stavanger

Mastering Engineers

Thomas Wolden, Tom Caulfield (DXD to DSD Transfers)

Original Recording Format

Piano Technician

Eric Schandall

Producer

Vegard Landaas

Recording Engineer

Thomas Wolden

Recording Location

Sofienberg Church in Oslo, Norway on November 19-21, 2019

Release Date February 24, 2022

Press reviews

Classical Music Blog 5 out of 5

Mezzo-soprano Bettina Smith and pianist Jan Willem Nelleke are out with a new album. This time, they have really dug up songs that are rarely performed. And here it’s definitely a lot of fun, also because Smith’s voice fits very well with these songs. 

I want to highlight some works, which in addition to great dissemination also hit this reviewer.

Henriëtte Bosmans (1895-1952) to verk; “The Artist’s Secret” and “La Chanson du chiffonier” are imaginative, well written and when Smith’s communication hits like this, these are two songs that should definitely be performed in the concert hall. 

Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) is represented with three lively and funny songs, where Bettina Smith is shown what a fine sound register she has.

From the Norwegian composer Borghild Holmsen (1865-1938), the duo has found 2 songs from her opus 14. Why the middle song is omitted is a bit of a shame, as the collection so definitely tickles the ears.

But it is “Quatre chants” by Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) that hit the undersigned right into the soul. The reason is this composer’s tragic life, where she has been ill throughout her short life. The four songs on this record were written in the period from 1911 to 1916, and already here one senses her gloom, but also her maturity in her works – something that also manifested itself when she, as the youngest ever, won the Prix de Rome in 1913 , only 19 years old.

This album brings a number of other female composers to light, which shows that quality – regardless of man or woman – should be communicated to the music-loving audience.

In addition to the aforementioned, the album contains music by Luise Greger (1862-1944), Cécile Chaminda (1857-1944), Anna Cramer (1873-1968), Marguerite Canal (1890-1978) and Régine Wieniawski (1879-1932).

If you are curious about rarely performed music, this album can be highly recommended!

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