Traditional, delicate and heartwarming

This is quite the CD – the silver disc is actually green! But don’t worry, it’s not a garish green but rather green as grass. And before you finish admiring the optics, the acoustic thrills begin. “Guggisberglied”, “Le vieux chalet” and “Liauba” are all classic and enchanting Swiss songs. This wouldn’t be out of the ordinary if the CD cover bore the name of Gölä or Maja Brunner, but it is Swiss opera star Marie-Claude Chappuis who is singing these delightful pieces. Sometimes softly accompanied by a guitar or the primeval tones of an alphorn, sometimes by the heartwarming sound of an accordion. And every now and again backed up by the rich male voices of the Choeur des Armaillis de la Gruyère.

The singer proved her huge versatility in 2017 with her CD “Sous l’empire de l’amour”, accompanied only by the soft notes of a lute. The mezzosoprano could dare such a feat with a voice so unbelievably beautiful, sensual, flexible and expressive. The French lute songs from the 17th century about the joys of love are thus transformed into highly emotional cameos. It was a highlight of her strongly goal-oriented career path. Chappuis spent her apprenticeship years at the Landestheater Tirol, where she experienced a singer’s life on fast-forward. Her lucky break came in the form of Brigitte Fassbaender – a former opera singer turned artistic director in Innsbruck – who placed such trust in her. “That gave me a great deal of confidence. I was able to learn how to handle bigger roles with my voice very quickly,” she said. She proceeded to perform on the world’s stages, and baroque music became her world. “This gave me the opportunity to work with truly great conductors and with the best and most beautiful orchestras in the world.”

Anyone who listens to the Swiss songs on the CD will not know whether they should sing along or simply listen in awe. On the one hand there is the self-confidence, authenticity and ease of Chappuis’ vocals, balanced on the other by her artistry. Sony proudly announced before Christmas that the new album was once again in the top 20 on Radio SRF Musikwelle. At number 8, just two places behind a certain Gölä.

Christian Berzins

Marie Claude Chappuis & Friends: Au coeur des Alpes, Volkslieder aus der Schweiz, Sony 2018

Comments (3)
  • Patrick Menoud, Suisse, Neyruz
    Patrick Menoud, Suisse, Neyruz at 21.03.2019
    Magnifique album que voilà, avec tant de références à notre patrimoine musical et art vocal !
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  • Heinz Keller, Zufikon, Schweiz
    Heinz Keller, Zufikon, Schweiz at 01.04.2019
    Christian Berzins bringt es mit seiner Kritik auf den Punkt.
    Beseelter, sinnlicher, aber auch melancholisch-düster-traurig haben unsere Schweizer Volkslieder noch nie geklungen. Eine musikalische Tour de Suisse durch unsere vier Kulturräume und in fünf Sprachen (Patois), wie es sie noch nicht gegeben hat. Und eine der allerschönsten Stimmen der Schweiz und der ganzen Opernwelt singt ganz einfach so wunderbar tief beseelt und natürlich... Für mich: Zum Niederknien schön und eine grossartige Hommage an unsere Schweiz. Grand Merci an Marie-Claude Chappuis!
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  • Ralf Rafael Maus, Freiburg, DE
    Ralf Rafael Maus, Freiburg, DE at 02.04.2019
    In Deutschland wird häufig schon der Begriff „Volkslied“ belächelt. Was die Schweizer Mezzo-Sopranistin Marie-Claude Chappuis aber mit ihrer ganz eigenen Interpretation auf der vorliegenden CD macht, ist höchst bemerkenswert und überzeugend.
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