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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 45 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)

Rêve d'amour, Op 5 No 2
First line:
S'il est un charmant gazon
composer
1862, published as Op 5 No 2, E flat major (original key) 3/4 Allegretto
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), Geoffrey Parsons (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançais
In the Hugo source this poem is entitled Nouvelle chanson sur un vieil air, suggesting that the poet fitted new words to a tune he already knew. Hugo wrote the lyric for his mistress Juliette Drouet. The poem was set by Liszt in 1844 (with an impossible piano part), by César Franck in 1847, and soon afterwards by the adolescent Saint-Saëns (on Hyperion CDA66856) as an Offenbachian galop. Liszt’s revised version dates from 1859. Saint-Saëns’s title is Nouvelle chanson but other composers adopt the poem’s first line – S’il est un charmant gazon. Fauré’s setting, the celebrated poem disguised by this title, is one of the least performed of his songs. It is true that it is more four-square and strophic than his later work, and it has a certain affinity with Gounod – though it is none the worse for emulating that master’s gift for combining sensuality with pudeur. The prosody is far from perfect. But what is already typical of Fauré is the fluidity and independence of the bass line, and the delicacy of the syncopated quavers that shadow the voice and trace the ghost of a counter-melody. The composer directs that the third verse should be sung slower than the others, a modification unique in his songs.

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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