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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67333
Recording details: January 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: January 2005
Total duration: 3 minutes 4 seconds

'Hyperion's sound is impeccable and in both his playing and accompanying essay, Graham Johnson penetrates to the heart of one of music's most subtle and enigmatic geniuses' (Gramophone)

'There can be nothing but praise for Johnson's pianism and his selection and arrangement of the songs. Volumes 3 and 4 are eagerly awaited' (The Sunday Telegraph)

'Johnson's own fluent playing finds the right tempo for each song, and his booklet notes are invaluable. Those who already love a handful of Fauré's songs will make many worthwhile discoveries here' (BBC Music Magazine)

'It sounds as if Hyperion is inviting us to embark on what will become a deeply satisfying voyage' (International Record Review)

'A dozen individual songs on aqueous themes are shared by a distinguished line-up of mostly British singers. As ever in Hyperion's song surveys, the piano accompaniments and the written documentation are immaculately presented by Graham Johnson' (The Guardian)

'Johnson's vignette-studded notes, encompassing the poems with idiomatic translations, make a consistently engaging cornucopia worth at least the price of admission and whose wide-ranging erudition will afford surprises even to close students of the period' (Fanfare, USA)

Chanson du pêcheur 'Lamento', Op 4 No 1
First line:
Ma belle amie est morte
?1872, Op 4 No 1, ‘À Madame Pauline Viardot’, Hamelle: First Collection p27, F minor (original key) 4/4 Moderato
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), Geoffrey Parsons (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançais
This poem is entitled Lamento in Gautier’s La comédie de la mort (1838). Berlioz’s setting is entitled Sur les lagunes (from Les nuits d’été) and dates from 1856. Fauré first came into contact with Gounod in 1872 and both composers set this poem in that year, Gounod under the title Ma belle amie est morte. Apart from repetitions of the phrase ‘sans amour’ Fauré avoids the verbal meanderings of Gounod who also shamelessly cuts Gautier’s text. If Fauré fails to match the anguish of Berlioz at his height he writes a highly effective song in the Italian manner. It was immediately taken up by Madame Lalo, although its dedicatee, Pauline Viardot, took some time to include it into her repertoire. If the opening gives the impression of an unaccompanied recitative senza misura it is evident, even at this early stage, that exactness of rhythm is a vital component of the composer’s musical planning. Fauré reflects the narrator’s solitary grief in harmonies that suggest the emptiness of bereavement and an unsettled state of mind. At the song’s opening the intermittent triplets of the accompaniment suggest the plying of a fisherman’s oar in the lagoons rather than the dipping and plunging of a larger vessel. As the song gets into its stride the words tumble more readily from the singer’s lips and an initially compressed emotional horizon broadens into a grieving seascape. Fauré returned to this work a quarter of a century later to orchestrate it.

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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