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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 13 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)

Infidélité
First line:
Voici l'orme qui balance
composer
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Martyn Hill (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)
Introduction
Infidélité is a perfect pastel, like Offrande a portrait of a tentative love that is doomed to disappointment and incomprehension. The accompaniment oscillates, a quaver chord in each hand. Harmonies change only with the greatest subtlety in the right hand, the left maintaining a pedal on a succession of open fifths for up to fifteen bars at a time. The vocal line seems caught within a small circle of notes as if to reflect the unchanging constancy of the narrator. The calm atmosphere of the evening is beautifully caught, and the whole song seems redolent of the perfumes of ebonies and lilacs. All of this is to set up the poignant change of harmony on ‘vous’ at the end, masterfully preceded by an unaccompanied bar where the voice is released from the strait-jacket of those gently pulsating quavers. I have in my possession a copy of this song (with a drawing of the stone bench, of course) inscribed by ‘R.H.’ to Madeleine Lemaire—‘Souvenir de Réveillon’. As Reynaldo met Proust at Réveillon it is all too tempting to wonder whether it was the failure of this relationship that the composer had in mind when inscribing this song for his hostess.

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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