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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 11 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)

Si mes vers avaient des ailes
First line:
Mes vers fuiraient, doux et frÍles
composer
1888; dedicated to the composer's sister Maria
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Martyn Hill (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)
Introduction
Like every other French song composer of the time, Reynaldo was drawn to the poetry of Victor Hugo who relished the use of the most epic canvases both in his poetry and his novels. Like Goethe, Hugo was capable of small and unpretentious lyrics of the greatest tenderness, and his importance in the development of the mélodie cannot be over-estimated. Although Hahn placed Si mes vers avaient des ailes as the second item in his first recueil, it has become his motto song. The youthfulness of the composer (he was thirteen) makes its perfection seem all the more extraordinary. The distinguishing marks of Hahn’s style are all there: an accompaniment which undulates in the background like the slow unfurling of a skein of sumptuous material, a background of seemingly little import which nevertheless shapes the melody as if the accompanist wielded the lightest of hands on a potter’s wheel; a vocal line which is derived from the intimacy of speech but which contains in it the seeds of a wonderful melody truly to be sung; the use of unexpected intervals and cadences (the leaps are sometimes large) which transport us suddenly from a conversational tone in the middle of the stave to the swoon-inducing delight of a cunningly placed mezza voce. Right from the beginning Hahn was writing for singers who could cast sensual spells. Although the composer’s debts to Massenet are obvious, this music has a depth of feeling which that composer was seldom to attain in his songs.

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)  
'The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 2' (HYP20)
The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 2
This album is not yet available for download HYP20  2CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted  

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