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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: 2 minutes 39 seconds

'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)

Après un rêve, Op 7 No 1
First line:
Dans un sommeil que charmait ton image
composer
1877, Op 7 No 1, ‘À Mme Marguerite Baugnies’, Hamelle: First Collection p67, C minor (original key) 3/4 Andantino
author of text
after an anonymous Tuscan poet

Other recordings available for download
Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), Geoffrey Parsons (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançais
The inspiration for this song, and for Sérénade toscane, probably came from Pauline Viardot’s settings of Tuscan folk poetry. One wonders whether Fauré composed the Italian original of this song before Romain Bussine, a baritone friend of the composer, later a singing teacher at the Conservatoire, appended French words which are scarcely a translation of the original. The poetic source is Niccolo Tommaseo’s Canti popolari (Venice, 1841): No 11 of the section entitled ‘Fine della Serenata’ begins thus:

Levati, sol che la luna è levata;
Leva degli occhi miei tanto dormire.
Il traditor del sonno m’ha ingannata;
Il meglio [bello] amante m’ha fatto sparire.

Fauré’s ascending phrase at the beginning of the vocal line is a more logical fit for the rising sun of ‘Levati, sol’ than for ‘Dans un sommeil’. Neither Italian nor French version is convincing in terms of prosody, probably as a result of the compromises involved in making a bilingual edition of the song. If Bussine made the French version before Fauré began to compose, and the composer conceived his music for the French text, it is a miracle that the Italian, included in the song’s first edition, also fitted the music. (In preparing the French lyric Bussine seems to have relied more on Tommaseo’s footnote to ‘Levati, sol’ than on the Italian poem itself.) Fauré’s cantilena is a cornucopia of melodic plenty: the music unfolds organically from beginning to end, each phrase leading ineluctably to the next, an endless flowering. This in turn is supported by seemingly inevitable harmonies, but Fauré’s popular touch masks the greatest subtlety. Pau Casals’ instantly famous version of the piece for cello and piano (1910) proved how easily a tune like this can become a song without words.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005


Other albums featuring this work
'Fauré: La chanson d'Ève & other songs' (CDA66320)
Fauré: La chanson d'Ève & other songs

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