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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 45 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)

Le voyageur, Op 18 No 2
First line:
Voyageur, où vas-tu, marchant
composer
c1878, Op 18 No 2, ‘À M Emmanuel Jadin’, Hamelle: Second Collection p8 (G minor), F minor (original key A minor) 3/4 Allegro moderato
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançais
This is Fauré’s first setting of Armand Silvestre. The poem appears in Les ailes d’or (1880) in a sub-section entitled ‘Vers pour être chantés’. The date of the collection shows that Fauré either found the poem in a newspaper or periodical, or was in touch with the poet himself. Le voyageur is by no means typical of the Silvestre settings which are known for their grace and easy charm. This is a vehement song, brusque and tinged with what Jankélévitch calls ‘un certain air de fraternité’. (The original key of A minor – later moderated to G minor in Hamelle – is high enough to sound almost hysterically dramatic.) An English equivalent of this music may be Vaughan Williams’s ‘The Vagabond’ from his Songs of Travel; misanthropy and disdain for his fellow human beings hover beneath the surface of the traveller’s psyche. Fauré is sometimes in the mood to be as robust as this (consider the song Larmes, or the opening movement of the first Cello Sonata, Op 109). In the outer sections of the song the accompaniment is in accented crotchets: a dotted rhythm on the first beat resounds through the entire bar like the tolling of a bell, the vocal line roams the stave with manly determination. The imagery of verse 3, where a star sets towards the horizon, inspires the song’s great musical surprise. The vocal line is marked dolce and is suddenly muted and contained: the texture of the accompaniment is different from anything that has gone before. In fact this extraordinary passage, banished by a return of the louder music of the opening after eighteen bars, would not have seemed out of place in a late work like Mirages – a prophetic glimpse of a style-to-come.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

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