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Hyperion Records

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Two Angels (c1870) by Charles Sellier (1830-1882)
Track(s) taken from CDA67141/2
Recording details: December 1995
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown & Arthur Johnson
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: June 1996
Total duration: 2 minutes 39 seconds

'What treasures are here … the two discs provide an unmissable opportunity to explore a composer who is underrated and overlooked perhaps because he was too modest about himself. There are melodies here which Massenet, Debussy, Fauré and Ravel would have been proud to call their own. No one can fail to have their musical horizon broadened by these discs, which will assuredly come high among my Records of the Year, any year … these discs have given me as much pleasure as any I have heard this year … to hear Felicity Lott in Les étoiles, Susan Bickley in Offrande and Ian Bostridge in Tyndaris is to relish some of the most accomplished vocal artistry of the day' (The Sunday Telegraph)

'Some fascinating rarities' (Gramophone)

'To wonderful songs … [the artists] bring delicacy, grace, an emotion the more poignant for being understated … Not to be missed' (The Observer)

'This gorgeous set … Irresistible' (The Sunday Times)

'This is music for the intellect, interpreted with the utmost sensitivity' (Hi-Fi News)

'Ces chanteurs brittaniques interprètent ces petits bijoux avec soin touchant. Par la qualité du phrasé, ils lui restituent sa qualité essentielle, le sens du mot et de la ligne mélodique' (Répertoire, France)

'Graham Johnson choisir ses chanteurs qui possèdent une musicalité irréprochable et un français non seulement intelligible mais évocateur—et de les accompanger avec tant de poésie' (Diapason, France)

À Chloris
First line:
S'il est vrai, Chloris, que tu m'aimes
composer
published 1916
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Martyn Hill (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)
Introduction
À Chloris is beyond doubt the summit of Reynaldo Hahn’s art as a pasticheur, and it ranks as perhaps the most successful example of musical time-travelling in the French mélodie repertoire (if one excludes that peerless masterpiece of the madrigal style, Fauré’s Clair de lune). À Chloris has charm, elegance, gravity and the ability to move audiences—what more could one ask of a song, whether or not it is a pastiche? The fact that it is based on the striding bass line of Bach’s ‘Air on the G-string’ seems irrelevant: one smiles at the composer’s audacity at the beginning, but one stays to listen to the music, Hahn’s music, in its own right. It uses one of his favourite devices where the accompaniment is a piano piece with its own momentum; over this the voice embroiders an inspired overlay which seems half sung and half spoken, moving with conversational grace between whispered confidences and declarations of love in full voice. Here is a different world from the Charles d’Orléans settings—this is seventeenth-century France where the medieval has ceded to the baroque. All the grace of Louis XIII’s epoch seems encapsulated here, but there is also an undertone of sadness.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1996


Other albums featuring this work
'Hahn: Chansons grises & other songs' (CDH55040)
Hahn: Chansons grises & other songs
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55040  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  

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