This is the sort of ‘easy listening’ compilation which doesn’t often get reported in these pages and is a mix of Mitchell’s personal favourites featuring classic songs, salon pieces and music from the Paris of the 1920s. Some are in the form in which they were written, so are arrangements by the composer or others, and some adaptations from voice to piano by Mitchell herself.
First and foremost Mitchell is a performer who delights in taking her “red violins” to schools and other non-specialist audiences, and these are just the sort of tunes that could be relied on to captivate them. But there is clearly also a serious musician operating beneath the show-womanship, and there are some unexpected rarities in the mix.
Of particular interest are Prokofiev’s cycle of songs without words, in his own elegant and urbane arrangement for violin and piano. Poulenc’s song Violon may have seemed an obvious choice for transcription, but capturing the gentle humour of Louise de Vilmorin’s idiosyncratic poem in a wordless form is quite some challenge and it comes off stylishly.
Throughout Andrew Ball provides excellent support and on the final track they are joined by soprano Elizabeth Watts for Strauss’s meltingly beautiful Morgen.
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