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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 50 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)

Le ramier, Op 87 No 2
First line:
Avec son chant doux et plaintif
‘À Mlle Claudie Segond’, Hamelle: Third Collection p70, E minor (original key) 3/4 Andantino
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançais
The genesis of this song is curious, a sign surely that Fauré had become, willy-nilly, a twentieth-century artist; in 1904 the Gramophone Company of Milan commissioned a series of short works from a number of contemporary composers with the idea that each composer should accompany his work on a single-sided gramophone record. Giordano and Leoncavallo recorded their contributions, but Fauré did not; the failure of the project seems indicative of the composer being at odds with the technology of the new century. (Other composers commissioned, but not recorded, included Puccini and D’Indy.) Le ramier was one of two settings of Armand Silvestre that Fauré made in 1904 (the other was Le plus doux chemin) – his farewell to the poet after a working relationship of twenty-six years. Curiously, both poems come from the poet’s first collection, La chanson des heures (1878). The original title of the poem is Pour une voix.

This music describing a pigeon could not be more different to the ecstatic tremblings for quail and lark in La bonne chanson. This billing and cooing is much more low-key (the dropping fifth and the mezzo staccato quavers of the accompaniment are surprisingly evocative of this sound) but adorable nevertheless (cf Theodore Chanler’s song The Doves which owes much to Fauré). This is one of Fauré’s least appreciated, least sung, little gems. Like Le don silencieux, this is music that is the gateway into Fauré’s late style. As Jankélévitch puts it, ‘Fauré is on the threshold of a long and admirable old age’. Every note and every progression has been carefully planned yet seems casual and relaxed. Fauré might have been tempted to write a song in popular style for the Gramophone Company; instead he writes a song that is far from popular, but near perfection, right up to the ravishing final cadence. The music has the rueful charm of a man nearing sixty who realizes that his days as a Lothario are numbered. If he can no longer promise his lady friends the passion of La bonne chanson, he can at least offer civilized companionship, and this compliment galant.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

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