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Hyperion Records

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'Les Roses d'Ispahan' after Gabriel Fauré (c1907) by Lucien Levy-Dhurmer (1865-1953)
Sotheby’s Picture Library
Track(s) taken from CDA67336
Recording details: August 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: November 2005
Total duration: 2 minutes 14 seconds

'There are songs of a fragrance, ambiguity and vision unique to Fauré and all the singers involved in this glorious project, while not always in their first radiance and purity of voice, never lose their sense of poetic engagement and commitment. Graham Johnson, whether writing or playing, is magically attuned to every nuance of Fauré's universe; and Hyperion's sound and presentation are impeccable' (Gramophone)

'This completes Hyperion's recording of all Fauré's songs master-minded by Graham Johnson with a quintet of specialist singers: Jennifer Smith, Felicity Lott, Geraldine McGreevy, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt and Stephen Varcoe, all in top form here … suffice it to say that this superb enterprise is a jewel in Hyperion's crown' (The Sunday Telegraph)

'The sound is warm and initimate and Johnson's comprehensive notes are packed with information on each song and its cultural surround. In all this series has proved an impressive achievement, demonstrating that even the least known of Fauré's songs is well worth hearing' (BBC Music Magazine)

'These four CDs deserve an honoured place in the collection of anyone who cares about one of the finest of all mélodistes' (International Record Review)

'There's an ineffable, nostalgia-filled sadness about Jennifer Smith's rapt delivery of the final two songs of La chanson d'Ève, the mood intensified as so often in this series by Graham Johnson's accompaniments. An outstanding disc' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Graham Johnson, whose sterling pianism distinguishes every track … his accompanimens are models of Fauréan discretion and care … Gabriel Fauré: The Complete Songs offers a vital contribution to the ongoing re-imagination of Fauré, as well as a splendid opportunity to become acquainted with his allusive art' (Nineteenth-Century Music Review)

Le papillon et la fleur, Op 1 No 1
First line:
La pauvre fleur disait au papillon céleste
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), Geoffrey Parsons (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançais
Fauré begins his song-writing career with a pianistic carte de visite. A ritornello is launched with élan (one ascending C major scale, then another – a musical commonplace adapted for lepidopteran acrobatics) followed by sequences that spiral downwards in waltz rhythm. The song is usually chattered in a fast tempo (and in a bright D major transposition) that emphasizes its glittering superficiality. In the lower, original, key there is room for a touch of sadness and vulnerability; we can see a lovesick teenager rooted to the spot and not yet able to quench the thirsts of adolescence. The cover of the autograph (where the composer takes more pains in the penmanship of the title, La fleur et le papillon, than in the setting’s prosody) contains an amusing sketch of a flower with tiny arms looking up to a hovering butterfly wearing a crown. This was drawn by Saint-Saëns, Fauré’s teacher at the École Niedermeyer, who was clearly bemused by his pupil’s achievement. The poem, No XXVII in Hugo’s Chants du crépuscule has no title in the first edition. Perhaps the composer knew the text from Henri Reber’s modest setting of 1847.

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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