Inspired by such poets as Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine and Jean Richepin, the virtually blind composer Louis Vierne gave full flight to his imagination in these depictions of every human condition from ecstasy to despair. The scenery ranges from the cold stillness of a winter's day to the full fury of a ferocious storm and includes all manner of living creatures, from butterflies and birds to angels and witches. Vierne's pianistic treatment reflects the poetry, sometimes hauntingly beautiful and delicate, at other times fiercely passionate and even aggressive, with the densely chromatic writing seeming symphonic in scope and scale. This double-album of rarely performed melodies contains all of Vierne's major song cycles for voice and piano, plus the five "Histoires naturelles" by his contemporary Ravel. These are settings of prose poems by Jules Renard featuring humorous tales about birds and insects. REVIEW: 'Orde and Cohen are to be congratulated upon their enterprise . . . these discs are worthy of a serious audition and will be of great value to students of French music.' -- Ian Bailey, MusicWeb International.