Think classical vocal drama and Puccini, Verdi and Wagner leap to mind. Obscure names Louis Vierne and Ernest Chausson—Frenchmen more associated with melodies of pure Gallic elegance—would rank lowly on a list of composers of music inspiring a disc most aptly titled Turbulent Heart.
The CD’s cover, a storm-ravaged seascape, depicts the tempestuous tone of much of the music, as revealed in Vierne’s Les Djinns, from a Victor Hugo text depicting the flight of evil spirits.
Melbourne-born tenor Steve Davislim and St Kilda-based Melba Recordings have been closely associated since the acclaimed Richard Strauss issue, Seduction, in 2000, but Turbulent Heart eclipses past collaborations. Davislim’s singing—impassioned and technically flawless—is complemented by French conductor Guillaume Tourniaire , who crafts from The Queensland Orchestra a performance that could hardly have been eclipsed by France’s finest.