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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67334
Recording details: August 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Release date: April 2005
Total duration: 1 minutes 57 seconds

Dans les ruines d'une abbaye, Op 2 No 1
First line:
Seuls tous deux, ravis, chantants!
composer
c1865, Op 2 No 1, ‘À Mme Henriette Escalier’, Hamelle: First Collection p10
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançais
Fauré often cuts poems short. Here the onrush of words in this tempo uses so many syllables that he must re-employ the first two strophes of the poem as his six and seventh verses before going on to finish the poem! The newly-weds are outdoors in springtime and in the grounds of an old abbey. Their vivacious peals of joy and laughter seem almost sacrilegious in contrast to the sombre shadows cast by clerical history. The poet remains defiantly irreverent. Even the tombstones inscribed with crosses, and thoughts of the praying nuns of yore, cannot dampen this young couple’s fun and games: the Church, a crumbling force in republican France, no longer has the power to intimidate a generation that has grown up as free thinkers. It is a bitter fact for Hugo that France under Napoléon III is no longer a republic. The great Fauré commentator Jankélévitch, probably a religious man, preferred not to hear this text because it was of a ‘décourageante stupidité’. In any case, Fauré ignores any deeper layers of meaning in this relatively late poem (from Les chansons des rues et des bois, 1865); instead we are treated to a simple moto perpetuo of high spirits. As in Mai the rippling accompaniment facilitates a catchy little tune that skips with considerable elan and with scarcely a pause for breath. I remember a masterclass at Aldeburgh when Hugues Cuenod snatched the music from a student who had plodded through the song with well-meaning reverence. Cuenod, still singing marvellously in his seventies, gambolled in ‘les ruines’ with a joie de vivre that had all the onlookers applauding – Peters Pears on his feet, beaming and calling for a bis.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005


Other albums featuring this work
'Fauré: The Complete Songs, Vol. 4 – Dans un parfum de roses' (CDA67336)
Fauré: The Complete Songs, Vol. 4 – Dans un parfum de roses

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