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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 11 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)

Aurore, Op 39 No 1
First line:
Des jardins de la nuit s'envolent les étoiles
20 May 1884, published as Op 39 No 1, E major (original key G major) 4/4 Andante
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), Geoffrey Parsons (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançais
The model of this kind of mélodie has already been established by Le secret (1880). The accompaniment (as in so many later Fauré songs) begins in simple crotchets, slightly detached (in this case distant stars a-twinkle – cf Diane, Séléné from L’horizon chimérique), seemingly uneventful, yet the epitome of harmonic subtlety. With the gradual arrival of dawn the music builds and develops over four pages. After the rapt diffidence of the first strophe the accompaniment (without a change of pulse) flowers into semiquavers for the second verse in the minor key. At the third strophe (the song is an ABA structure) the semiquavers are re-energized for a triumphant return to the major. With the warmth of a new dawn comes a new romantic confidence. The deployment of notes between the hands (a crotchet in the left, three semiquavers in the right) as well as the key of G major, prophesy the optimistic N’est-ce pas? from La bonne chanson. The poem is the fourth in a sequence of eight (entitled Matutina) from Silvestre’s collection Le pays des roses. The title ‘Aurore’ is Fauré’s own.

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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