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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: 3 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)

1906, published by Leduc without opus number, E minor (original key) 4/4 Adagio molto tranquillo

Vocalise-étude  [3'11]

Introduction  EnglishFrançais
This music was written in the shadow of La chanson d’Ève. This is one of ten vocalises-études (in the first volume of a series) that were published under the direction of A L Hettich, singing professor at the Conservatoire. Naturally the vocalise of Fauré, as director of the Conservatoire, is placed at the beginning of the volume which also contains similar exercises by Koechlin, Ropartz, Schmitt and Vierne among others. Fauré’s music is a solemn march with his characteristic mezzo staccato crotchet accompaniment. It is carefully crafted to contain a number of vocal challenges, including the singing of intervals as wide as a tenth, and the pitching of unusual harmonies. This piece tests not only the voice, but also exactitude of rhythm without which no singer should broach a Fauré mélodie. It is a haunting piece of music in its own right that deserves to be better known, but Ravel’s Vocalise en forme de Habañera of the following year (published in Hettich’s second collection) obliterated all competition.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

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