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Track(s) taken from CDA67334

Puisqu'ici-bas toute âme, Op 10 No 1

composer
c1863–1873, Op 10 No 1, ‘À Mme Claudie Chamerot et Mlle Marianne Viardot’, C major (original key) 2/4 Allegretto moderato
author of text

Graham Johnson (piano), Geraldine McGreevy (soprano), Stella Doufexis (soprano)
Recording details: August 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Release date: April 2005
Total duration: 2 minutes 51 seconds
 
1
Puisqu'ici-bas toute âme Op 10 No 1  [2'51]

Reviews

'All the singers involved in this ideally presented and recorded offering perform with a special ardour and commitment and Graham Johnson is, as always, a matchless partner and commentator. I can scarcely wait for Volume 3' (Gramophone)

'There can be nothing but praise for Johnson's pianism and his selection and arrangement of the songs. Volumes 3 and 4 are eagerly awaited' (The Sunday Telegraph)

'The chronological placement of songs within the programme highlights the composer's development and the quality and variety of Fauré's achievement shine through. As well as providing his usual comprehensive notes, Johnson is as ever a perceptive accompanist' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The discreet but authoritative Graham Johnson has masterminded a pleasing sequence of more than two dozen songs shared among eight singers. For my money, the soprano Geraldine McGreevy is the star of the enterprise. The way she adjusts her tone colour—indeed, her whole musical personality—between songs, is often remarkable … Johnson's annotations are both erudite and valuable as listening aids' (The Independent)

'As before, Johnson's notes are a model of what's required, whether you are an adept in Fauré's mélodies or a newcomer. They are stylish, informative and suffused with his passion for this music. Then there's his own artistry, authoritative but never overbearing' (International Record Review)
This music comes from the same period as Mai. The melody is similarly ingratiating and anxious to please – a good match for the ardour of the poem which also inspired one of Reynaldo Hahn’s most successful early songs. If the packaging of this duet is much more refined and accomplished than Mai it is because Fauré took the sketch of the solo song out of the cupboard and revised it a decade later for those duet-singing sisters, the daughters of Pauline Viardot. At the time Fauré was engaged to Marianne Viardot. This is a hybrid work where the spontaneity of the teenager’s original sketches is checked by the suave manners of the twenty-eight year-old. It is little wonder that this music comes across like an exquisitely delivered calling card, a veritable compliment galant. The piano-writing is typical of the young master’s flawless weave – a silken carpet of sound. Semiquaver arpeggios waft up and down the keyboard. These seem effortless except to the person who has to play them; as always with this composer they contain countless tiny harmonic shifts to catch out the unwary. Fauré can always take us anywhere he likes, and on any degree of the scale; here he proceeds to do just that, like a dentist accomplishing the most difficult bridge-work while his patients (in this case the listeners) are scarcely aware of the drill. The mezzo soprano makes her entrance after a nine-bar solo for the soprano. When the two voices first come together it is in a falling line of seductive thirds (at ‘Puisque, lorsqu’elle arrive / S’y reposer’). Jean-Michel Nectoux has defined this phrase as an example of the ‘Viardot motif’ in Fauré’s music – ‘the formula of a rising sixth or octave followed by a descent through conjunct steps’. There is a masterly interplay between the voices – one can hear the fruits of assiduous study of fugue and counterpoint. But high learning is disguised by a sweetness of diction and gentleness of intent. Even when in love Fauré is a master of self-effacement.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

Contemporaine de Mai, cette musique offre une mélodie tout aussi pateline et désireuse de plaire, bien assortie à l’ardeur du poème – qui inspira aussi à Reynaldo Hahn l’une de ses premières mélodies les plus populaires. Si l’«emballage» de ce duo est nettement plus raffiné et abouti que celui de Mai, c’est que Fauré a ressorti de ses tiroirs l’esquisse de la mélodie solo, vieille de dix ans, pour la réviser à l’intention du duo de cantatrices formé par les filles de Pauline Viardot – il était alors fiancé à Marianne Viardot. Il s’agit d’une œuvre hybride, où la spontanéité des ébauches originales de l’adolescent est tempérée par les manières polies de l’homme de vingt-huit ans. Guère surprenant, dès lors, que cette musique donne l’impression d’une carte de visite exquisément délivrée – un véritable compliment galant. L’écriture pianistique, typique du tissage parfait du jeune maître, est un soyeux tapis sonore. Des arpèges en doubles croches ondoient de bas en haut du clavier avec une apparente facilité, sauf pour qui doit les jouer; comme toujours chez Fauré, ils renferment d’innombrables et minuscules transitions harmoniques qui prennent en défaut tout manque de méfiance. Fauré peut toujours nous emmener là où il veut, à n’importe quel degré de la gamme. Et c’est précisément ce qu’il fait ici, tel un dentiste réalisant le plus complexe des bridges alors même que ses patients (les auditeurs, en l’occurrence) ont à peine conscience de la fraise. La mezzo-soprano fait son entrée après un solo de neuf mesures dévolu au soprano. Puis les deux voix se rencontrent pour la première fois en une ligne descendante de séduisantes tierces, à «Puisque, lorsqu’elle arrive / S’y reposer». Jean-Michel Nectoux a vu en cette phrase un exemple du «motif de Viardot» présent dans la musique fauréenne – «la formule d’une sixte ou d’une octave ascendante suivie d’une descente par degrés conjoints». L’interaction entre les voix, magistrale, nous donne à entendre les fruits d’une étude assidue de la fugue et du contrepoint. Mais cette haute érudition est masquée par une douceur de diction et une légèreté d’intention. Même amoureux, Fauré reste un maître de modestie.

extrait des notes rédigées par Graham Johnson © 2005
Français: Hypérion

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