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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67335
Recording details: August 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Release date: July 2005
Total duration: 1 minutes 52 seconds

'Recording and presentation are the stuff of dreams. Hyperion has done Fauré proud' (Gramophone)

'The songs certainly show Fauré to possess a far wider expressive range than an acquaintance with just a handful of his best-known examples would suggest … the gem of the set has to be Christopher Maltman's traversal of the substantial cycle La bonne chanson. The baritone's rich, subtly shaded tone and alert sensitivity to text prove ideal in this perfectly judged performance' (BBC Music Magazine)

'No other disc, I imagine, has ever managed to be quite so scholarly and quite so erotic at the same time' (The Guardian)

Notre amour, Op 23 No 2
c1879, Op 23 No 2, ‘À Mme C Castillon’, Hamelle: Second Collection p30, E major (original key) 6/8 Allegretto
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançais
The poem comes from Silvestre’s Les ailes d’or (1880) in a sub-section entitled ‘Vers pour être chantés’. The song was composed before the poem’s appearance in book form. Fauré either found the poem in a newspaper or periodical, or was in touch with the poet himself. There are a large number or words (five wordy strophes) that trip off the tongue (if the singer is lucky enough to remember them), and all in a short space of time. Notre amour is often heard as a breathless patter song – the whole performance geared to the singer’s final bars with the high note – like a musical firework ending with the blaze of a Catherine wheel. With this number of words to put across (most of them proclaiming thoughtful sincerity rather than dizzy excitement) performers should observe the composer’s Allegretto, a marking that suggests a certain elan while avoiding a demented gabble. The tonal architecture has a subtle assymetry: the first and third strophes move from the tonic to G sharp minor and B major, the second from the tonic to F sharp minor and A major. For the fourth and fifth strophes the text suggests greater intimacy: the elegant sextuplets of the accompaniment are given deeper meaning by the affectionate counterpoint between the vocal line and an ascending five-finger scale in the pianist’s left hand (at bars 21 to 23, and 26 to 27). Between these two verses, at bar 25, there is a beautiful interlude, an arched rainbow of sound suspended in the right hand over the lapping of the tide in the left – a perfect illustration of the poem’s immediately preceding imagery. The brief detour into G major for the penultimate ‘chose éternelle’ adds strength to the clinching vocal cadence. The postlude betokens the colloquy of mutual affection: undulating triplets mesh with five-finger scales, an exchange between hands and staves that symbolizes the mingling of masculine and feminine.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

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