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Hyperion Records

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The Maures Mountains (1906/7) by Henri-Edmond Cross (1856-1910)
Private Collection / © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55396
Recording details: June 2001
Ulster Hall, Belfast, United Kingdom
Produced by Chris Hazell
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: March 2002
Total duration: 15 minutes 29 seconds

'Graffin's intelligent and characterful playing serves up a rare feast … ‘Rare’ is doubly true: the quality of the playing here deserves that adjective … lusciously scored and richly violinistic … such a combination of enterprise, imagination and responsive musicianship is rare indeed' (Gramophone)

'Everything here is delightful: the disc is a treasure trove of Gallic urbanity and fine technique … sumptuous … Philippe Graffin is one of the biggest young talents among French violinists—the programme seems to be his choice, which proves he has taste and discrimination, and is an excellent showcase for his talents' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Philippe Graffin is just the player for these delectable byways of late-Romantic French repertoire … pure sound, inflected by a magical range of legato bow strokes and vibratos … Graffin plays [the Fauré] as though he believes in every note—what sublime advocacy! Graffin and colleagues—Thierry Fischer and the Ulster Orchestra provide commendably alert and (where appropriate) fiery accompaniments throughout—once again turn a top-notch performance … superb performances, then, boldly and atmospherically engineered' (International Record Review)

'Delicious, decorous and very slightly old-fashioned, this programme of rarities is the quiet musical equivalent of a six-course dinner drawn from Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cookery … lovely playing' (The Independent on Sunday)

'Here, with a warm-blooded Ulster orchestra in support, [Graffin] brings a host of rare works to the fore. All are rewarding' (The Strad)

'Philippe Graffin is one of the most sensitive and refined of violinists; he is also a champion of lesser-known French music … Graffin’s reflective approach perfectly suits the elusive beauty of the remnants of Fauré’s early violin concerto' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Graffin plays with loving care, and the Ulster Orchestra under Thierry Fischer are with him in spirit all the way' (The Irish Times)

'Thanks to Philippe Graffin's bravura playing and rich accompaniments from the Ulster Orchestra and its new principal conductor Thierry Fischer, this anthology of 19th-century violin rarities delivers a spellbinding addition to the Hyperion catalogue' (Music Week)

'This is exactly the kind of disc that Hyperion has perfected over many years. Originally released roughly a decade ago to considerable acclaim it is now re-released on their budget Helios label. Excellence of this calibre available at bargain price makes it all but compulsory for anyone interested in rare repertoire for the violin who missed it first time around' (MusicWeb International)

'One of the most charming discs of French music it has been my pleasure to review … [the pieces] could well have been written for Graffin’s silky smooth playing, each work so lovingly shaped, the fast passages despatched with an easy virtuosity. In Fischer and the admirable Ulster Orchestra, Graffin has devoted colleagues, the engineers adding icing to the cake' (Yorkshire Post)

'One of the season's most alluring CDs' (Strings, USA)

'Thierry Fischer, à la tête d’un excellent Orchestre de l’Ulster, sert très bien son soliste, avec une légère tendance à la grandiloquence. Conclusion: un disque sans concurrence et rudement bien élaboré' (Classica, France)

Poème
composer
1918; revised 1937/8; first performed by André Asselin

Poème  [15'29]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Joseph Canteloube (de Malaret) is still unjustly associated with only one work, his celebrated Chants d’Auvergne. The genesis for his Poème began in 1918 while Canteloube, a great pianist, was touring in the south of France as the duo partner of the violinist Gaston le Fleuve. The concept owes much to Chausson, but it is one of the works of Canteloube where we can not only appreciate his luxurious orchestration and harmonic language, but also hear his unique melodic creation. He often felt shortcomings in this regard, and found for a large part his inspiration in various folk cultures from around the world, often describing himself as a régional composer. The Poème was reworked in 1937–8, and the violinist André Asselin gave the premiere. I was fascinated to read recently a most diplomatic letter from this violinist to Canteloube, answering the composer’s anxiety about the ‘heaviness’ of the orchestration, and how during the performance he could hear himself better then he had anticipated. This is, however, a problem that is often attributed to Chausson as well, and to take Asselin’s words, this Poème is ‘more beautiful and moving still than I had expected it to be […] and it brings to life an enlightening artistic experience’.

from notes by Philippe Graffin © 2002

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