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Hyperion Records

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Lyricism in the Forest (1910) by Alphonse Osbert (1857-1939)
Musée de la Ville de Paris, Musée du Petit-Palais, France / Lauros / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67883
Recording details: May 2011
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: April 2012
Total duration: 3 minutes 21 seconds

'Malcolm Martineau's nuanced pianism partners Lorna Anderson and Lisa Milne in a sequence spanning most of Debussy's creative life … Anderson effortlessly glides through Debussy's limpid, lengthy phrases, while Milne's shivering sense of wonder is Mélisande-like in its pent-up excitement' (BBC Music Magazine)

'A collection of 22 of some of the greatest of all French songs … what a wealth of imagery with which the composer challenges his singer … details are meticulously observed, everywhere. This is a true collaboration' (International Record Review)

Trois Chansons de France, L115
1904; dedicated to Emma Bardac

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
During the early months of 1904 Debussy’s first marriage to Lilly Texier began to founder as he succumbed to the charms of Emma Bardac, an accomplished singer and one-time mistress of Fauré. The Trois Chansons de France were the first Debussy works to be dedicated to her. He was no historian and makes no attempt to distinguish between the fifteenth-century poet Charles d’Orléans and the seventeenth-century Tristan l’Hermite. It was enough for him to feel that he was ‘going back’—partly because he was no lover of his own times with what he called its ‘tricoloured phrases’ (that is, expressions of French nationalism), and partly because he never lost his reverence for the directness of the music of Victoria, Lassus and Palestrina which he had first heard as a student in Rome. By and large the harmonies of all three songs are simpler and more firmly anchored to traditional tonal pillars than in the Bilitis songs. In rhythm though, the outer ones maintain a free flow of patterns, with repeated lines duly observed in the music, whereas the central La grotte is an exercise in stillness, with a short–long rhythm in the piano that impedes forward movement. Like Narcissus, we seem to find ourselves frozen in an attitude of contemplation.

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2012

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