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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: 2 minutes 40 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)

Pleurs d'or, Op 72
First line:
Larmes aux fleurs suspendues
1896, Op 72, ‘À Mlle Camille Landi et M David Bispham’, 12/8 Andante quasi allegretto
author of text
From poem entitled "Larmes"

Introduction  EnglishFrançais
Fauré read Albert Samain’s collection of poems entitled Au jardin de l’infante on the strong recommendation of Emma Bardac, a fine singer, his mistress for a time and dedicatee of La bonne chanson (not to mention the future second wife of Debussy). The first fruit of this discovery of a new poet was Soir, composed in 1894. This remarkable duet followed two years later. The title of Samain’s poem is Larmes, but Fauré had already given this title to the Richepin setting. He omits the poet’s last three lines that are even more highly perfumed than the rest of the poem. The flowing triplets of this 12/8 Andante quasi allegretto suggest the flow of water music, but this is water, almost holy water, in a state of suspension. Off-the-beat crotchets in the accompaniment are distilled drop by drop – mezzo staccato dew on the rose-petalled surface of the music. These golden tears are turned into something audible in the sounds of different kinds of bell and of veiled flutes; they are transfigured as pinpricks of stars in the heavens. There is a luxurious sensuality in this music; the entwined vocal lines swoon as if responding to a caress, a touch of Massenet perhaps. The sentiment of the work is that of the second period; the harmonic progressions are recherché without having embraced the pudeur of the third period. The composer would soon retreat from this opulence which, even in his skilful hands, threatens to cloy. The duet was first published by the British firm of Metzler; its first performance was in London at a time when Fauré and his music were exceedingly popular in the English capital.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

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